From Triumphs in the Pool to the American Business World

02/22/2024
Our article is about Tamás Novoszáth, who was born and raised in Szeged, Hungary. His entry into the world of swimming was inspired by family traditions. His athletic career began with swimming, then in 2016, his family moved to Budapest, where he continued his swimming career at the Darnyi Tamás Swimming Club. Later, Tamás went to the United States, where he continued both his swimming career and his studies. Eventually, after finishing his degree, he decided to take advantage of the opportunities in the United States, and he currently works as a lead business data analyst for a Japanese multinational corporation near Atlanta, while also starting his own ventures. 

Firstly, please tell us a bit about where you were born and raised and how you got into the world of swimming 

I am Tamás Novoszáth, 26 years old, born and raised in Szeged. I was always close to the water from a young age. My mother rowed and ventured into at swimming and diving, while my father played water polo in his youth, so aquatic sports have always been significant in our family. 

My athletic career began with swimming, but I briefly tried water polo. However, it didn’t last long because I realized that the punishment of push-ups wasn’t the additional challenge I was looking for. After this short stint in water polo, swimming took center stage in my life, and I achieved various successes in this sport. 

I was a member of the Szeged Swimming Club for nearly fifteen years until I was 19, and I achieved my greatest sporting successes during this time, with significant roles played by coaches Attila Nagy and later Gábor Gellért. In 2016, my family moved to Budapest, and under the guidance of Péter Horváth, my siblings and I continued our swimming careers at the Darnyi Tamás Swimming Club. While my sister Melinda became a junior European champion in open water swimming shortly after the change of environment, my path led elsewhere. 

 

When and why did you decide to move to the United States? 

In Szeged, I was part of the adult swimming group at a relatively young age, where several older teammates pursued their careers in the United States after graduating from high school. Conversations with them and my own future goals made going to the USA my aim from the early years of high school. This goal was always in front of me, both in school and in the pool, as I believed that to achieve something remarkable, I needed to go to the “land of opportunities.” 

In 2016, right after graduation, just before my family moved to Budapest, I started my journey to the USA, so I didn’t have much data from the new Budapest environment. Due to a misunderstanding or perhaps fate, I ended up at a military academy (Fork Union Military Academy) in Virginia, but that’s another story. The six months spent there completely changed my life. It’s where I met my future university coach, Mark Bernardino, an American Hall of Fame distance swimming coach. 

This unconventional start not only brought significant development in swimming but also played a key role in shaping my personality. The discipline and independence I learned at the military academy laid the foundation for my university studies and sports career. The challenges of the academy and adapting to a new culture taught me how to adjust to unfamiliar environments and handle difficulties. These experiences and skills have since played a significant role in both my professional and personal life. 

 

Which university did you attend, and what did you study there? 

During the six months at the military academy, I participated in several swimming competitions, catching the attention of the head coach at the University of South Carolina, who had already worked with several successful international swimmers at the university. After getting to know each other virtually, he came to watch some of my practices at the academy and later offered me a full athletic scholarship to the University of South Carolina, where I could continue my swimming career under his guidance. 

Before attending the academy, I had discussions with universities in Washington and Atlanta, where I wanted to study aerospace engineering because I’ve always been interested in aviation and structural mechanics. However, fate led me to study business and economics. The University of South Carolina’s international business program has been ranked as one of the best in the US for years, so there was no question that I would pursue business studies there. 

The six years I spent in the mathematics program at Radnóti Miklós High School in Szeged provided an excellent foundation for successfully completing university courses and developing my analytical thinking. I always like to thoroughly analyze everything to make the best decisions possible in all aspects of life. This mindset led me first to a bachelor’s degree in financial and real estate analysis and later to a master’s degree in business data analysis. 

 

What was the biggest challenge during your student-athlete years? 

I believe that individuals react differently to being away from home and relying on themselves, based on their nature and upbringing. Some see it as liberation, while for others, it’s hard to break away from the ties of home. I belonged to the latter group. My siblings and I went to the same elementary school, club, and high school from a young age, so we did almost everything together. Overall, I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up in a cohesive, loving family. 

However, this kind of family closeness significantly complicated the initial periods after moving to America. I was completely on my own on another continent, where I only heard familiar voices over the phone. Of course, this is part of growing up, and I eventually got used to it, but I still feel a certain degree of homesickness for my family, my home, and Hungary to this day. The distance and adaptation to a new environment were challenging, but they helped me learn how to manage and appreciate my relationships, whether with family, partners, or friends. These experiences and skills continue to contribute to the development of my communication skills and emotional intelligence, greatly helping me handle personal relationships and life’s various challenges more flexibly, thoughtfully, and patiently. 

In sports, perhaps the biggest challenge for me was adapting to different, new training methods. From a young age, we swam a considerable distance at every practice, so initially, the significant reduction in meters in America didn’t help me improve; in fact, my performance declined because I didn’t receive certain new stimuli. However, this eventually changed, and thanks to the higher intensity, my body adapted, and although gradually, I managed to improve year by year. 

 

After finishing university, why did you decide to stay in America? And where and what are you working on now? 

After obtaining my master’s degree, I faced a crossroad. At 25, I had to decide what the next stage of my life would look like. I am a perfectionist, so if I do something, I want to be the best at it; I cannot settle for mediocrity. I had been swimming for almost two decades, and I felt I had reached the peak of my biological capacity, which was still far from the level I expected from myself. I reluctantly let go of competitive sports to pursue my goals in other areas of life. 

I judged that, for my future, I should take advantage of my opportunities and try to stay in America to gain experience and capital so that my previously only theoretical ideas wouldn’t just remain ideas but would become reality. I am an entrepreneurial type of person, and even before and during university, I had ideas that I definitely wanted to implement. Although there are many successful businessmen in Hungary, I felt that the ideas I came up with would have a better and quicker chance of success in the American market. America is called the land of opportunities for a reason; there are plenty of financial and other resources available if you know where to look for them. 

I am currently working near Atlanta at Yanmar America Corporation, a Japanese company that manufactures diesel engines, agricultural, and construction equipment, as a lead business data analyst. My tasks are quite diverse, ranging from calculating the profitability of various product lines to optimizing the company’s operations and analyzing the company’s financial reports. I have been with the company since 2022, and during this time, I have gained a lot of experience and real-life knowledge of how a multi-billion-dollar corporation operates.  


What skills or lessons from your sports career have you found useful in your professional life?

Although swimming is fundamentally an individual sport, in America, it is considered more of a team sport, even if we’re not talking about relay races. I think it’s true for most American universities that while individual results are important, being a team player is even more crucial. The importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving common goals is undoubtedly a lesson I can use in my professional life. 

Persistence and mindfulness, which can be acquired during a sport career, are often mentioned, but cannot be emphasized enough. During a longer project or challenge, there are often obstacles and unexpected difficulties that many of my colleagues without a sport background give up on easily. Sports taught me that persistence involves not only physical but also mental and emotional efforts. This ability helps me persevere through workplace challenges, continue to find innovative and creative solutions, and not lose motivation even when results are not immediately visible. 

 

Do you have any advice for Hungarian students who want to study and compete in the USA? 

Definitely go to America! 

Start learning English as soon as possible, prepare for American college entrance exams well before high school graduation, and, of course, strive to achieve the best sports results possible. This is an experience that must be experienced to truly see its value. I’ve made lifelong friendships, gained invaluable life experiences, and developed a unique worldview, all of which are extremely useful in today’s world. 

Together with several colleagues who have traveled similar paths, one of my goals now is to help other Hungarian athletes share this life-changing opportunity and help them obtain sports scholarships in the United States. Through USATHLETE, we aim to provide guidance and support to talented young Hungarian athletes, providing them with the knowledge, experience, and opportunities they need to achieve academic and athletic excellence. We warmly welcome all interested athletes! 

 

Finally, but not least, a few “Rapid Fire Questions”: 

Burger or Rakott krumpli? Burger 

Cheesecake or Somlói galuska? It’s a close competition, but cheesecake 

Peanut butter and jelly or Palacsinta? Palacsinta 

Chicken fried steak or Chicken Paprikash? Chicken fried steak 

Mac and cheese or Túrós csusza? Mac and cheese 

Chain Bridge or Brooklyn Bridge? Chain Bridge 

Holiday by Lake Balaton or Florida’s sandy beaches? Lake Balaton 

Football or American football? Football 

 

The “My America” blog series introduces several successful Hungarian athletes in America, click here and get to know them too!

Zádor Eszter

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szia@hungarianhub.com

HungarianHub Inc.

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

szia@hungarianhub.com

HungarianHub Inc.

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

© 2024 Minden jog fenntartva | HungarianHub

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