Andrea Gyarmati

b. 1954

by Jacov Sobovitz

The daughter of Olympic medalists, water polo champion Dezso Gyarmati and swimmer Eva Szekely, Andrea Gyarmati was born in Budapest, Hungary, in May 1954. At the age of twelve she began serious training as a swimmer under her mother’s guidance and competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico in three events, reaching the finals in all three.

Between 1970 and 1973, Gyarmati gained twenty-three individual titles and set eleven national, nineteen European, and two world records. In the 1970 European Championships she captured two titles (100-meter butterfly and 200-meter backstroke) and twice placed second (100-meter backstroke and 4x100-meter freeestyle relay). At the 1972 Munich Olympics she won the silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke and a bronze in the 100-meter butterfly. At the 1973 World Championships in Belgrade Gyarmati won the bronze in the 200-meter backstroke and placed fourth in the 100-meter. At the height of her career, she won twenty-eight Hungarian national championships, in the freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly events.

In the spring of 1974 the twenty-year-old Gyarmati suddenly stopped in the middle of a training session supervised by her mother and announced that she was abandoning competitive swimming because she no longer enjoyed it.

Now a pediatrician living in Budapest, Gyarmati is married to Mihaly Hesz, a dentist and former world and Olympic champion kayaker. In 1995 she was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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Olympic medalist Andrea Gyarmati in 1972. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

How to cite this page

Sobovitz, Jacov. "Andrea Gyarmati." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 23, 2021) <>.


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