A senior stepped in the pool one last time as a Missouri State Bear at the NCAA Championships, and his legacy will forever be remembered.
“I hope Artur Osvath knows his legacy has already been cemented into our program,” head swimming and diving coach Dave Collins said. “He will go down as one of the best swimmers we have ever had here. He will be a future Hall of Famer.”
From a lone wolf in the pool to an athlete who has a team to lean on, Osvath’s swimming career has pushed his limitations and proven his abilities in the water.
As an All-American and the first MSU swimmer to qualify for the NCAA tournament when he was a freshman, Osvath has accomplished almost all he can do as an individual at the college level, Collins said.
But Osvath was not satisfied as he entered his third NCAA appearance in Austin, Texas.
“You can always do better,” Osvath said. “I could always swim faster times. I just want to put everything out there and just swim (for the team) one last time.”
This is not his whole story though. Through hard work, perseverance and a supportive family behind him, he learned to thrive in and out of the pool.
Osvath’s story goes all the way back to his hometown in Budapest, Hungary — where his family has been swimming for generations. His mother, Angela Horvath, and grandparents, were swimmers in Hungary.
It was his family who pushed him to excel not only in swimming, but also academically so opportunities could start coming.
“They were very supportive,” Osvath said. “They always push me. They helped me anytime they could.”
Osvath, who competed in international tournaments on the regional and national level when he was younger, said he knew he needed to leave Hungary in his first year of high school if he intended to keep swimming and go to college.
While swimming is relevant in his country, there were no high school swimming teams, only club teams — swimming for a university was unheard of.
“I was probably 14 or 15, so I contacted one of my coaches from back home,” Osvath said. “He told me about all these opportunities and how good it was for him. That was when I decided, ‘I want to come to the U.S.’”
After hearing about the program at Missouri State from former student and swimmer Dora Kiss, who is also from Budapest, Osvath reached out to Collins for a Skype interview.
That was when Osvath decided to come to Missouri State.
“We felt like in the recruiting process we were getting someone that was pretty raw — talented, but raw,” Collins said. “He came with some pretty nice times, but you never know how that is going to transition to college.
“When you recruit an international student, you don’t always know what you are going to get. We hit the jackpot with him. It has been incredible to watch him develop.”
One of the biggest things that stood out to Osvath about swimming in the U.S. was he could finally swim for a team.
“I feel like here swimming is a team sport and back home it was just an individual sport,” Osvath said. “I like it much better here. I enjoy it so much more here.”
Collins said Osvath’s desire to swim for a team was intriguing when recruiting him.
“That is why he is so special because he swims for a team,” Collins said. “He not only wants to perform well individually, but team accolades and team championships is always something that he talks about. He is a very versatile athlete and he has always said, ‘Put me wherever you need to swim for the team to be successful.’”
However, his first couple of weeks on campus were not ideal. Although he has created a legacy now, starting college in a foreign school with the passion to be a star athlete was certainly overwhelming at first.
“It was weird,” Osvath said. “I barely spoke any English, but everyone was very helpful — my teammates and all the coaches. Everyone was super helpful. I feel like the culture barrier wasn’t too bad. It was just the language. School was kind of hard at first, but I got used to it.”
Not only does Osvath impress as a swimmer, but Collins said his academics are impressive as well.
Osvath said before learning English completely, he struggled with courses that required a lot of reading. Collins said Osvath usually has one of the highest GPAs on the team.
“Our coach always pushes us to do well in school,” Osvath said. “It is always a team thing because everyone tries to do well in school. That pushes me.”
Osvath, now from a leadership standpoint, has been the backbone of the program, Collins said.
“He has gone from doing things individually at about the highest level as you possibly can,” Collins said. “He has really made his teammates better the last couple of years. That has been something that is not always easy to do is when you hit that level as an individual and have that sort of impact on others is pretty special.
“He has given everything he has got to this program.”
Fellow senior Blair Bish and member of the men’s swimming and diving team swam alongside him in the NCAAs.
Bish, who swam at Arizona his first two years of college, said he first met Osvath in the locker room at Georgia Tech when both were freshmen at the NCAAs.
“I had known so many people (at Missouri State) and they told me to reach out and meet him,” Bish said. “He seemed like a nice, quiet and goofy guy. He has gotten a little bit more talkative since I have known him.
“He is my roommate now, so we know each other a lot better than I think we thought we ever would have.”
As Osvath finished up his final swim as a Bear, Collins reflected on his time at Missouri State.
“I hope he feels accomplished and can reflect back at what he has done in his four-year career here,” Collins said. “Ultimately, one swim doesn’t define his legacy. His legacy has already been defined. You just hope that an athlete can go out on top.”
For Osvath’s future plans, he still has one year of school left. He is double majoring in finance and international business. Osvath also has an internship lined up in Kansas City this summer and plans on coming back to Missouri State to get his Master of Business Administration.
“I still think I’ll be around for a while longer,” Osvath said.