Legendary swimming coach Dr. Jeno [Doc] Tihanyi, best known for grooming Alex Baumann into an Olympic champion, died Sunday in Sudbury, Ont., after a battle with cancer. He was 71.
Born in Hungary in 1936, Tihanyi began his coaching career in 1964 with the Vancouver Amateur Swim Club. He later moved to Sudbury and in 1974 started the swim program at Laurentian University. At first, the Laurentian Aqua Vees Varsity Swim Team had just five swimmers, a number which has now expanded to nearly 60 athletes.
In the early 1970s, Tihanyi began coaching nine-year-old Baumann.Baumann, regarded as the greatest swimmer in Canadian history, went on to win two Olympic gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and set 17 world records between 1981 and 1986.
Tihanyi spent 44 years of his life coaching swimming.
On April 16, 2004, Tihanyi was inducted to the Canadian Olympic Committee Hall of Fame, becoming just the fourth coach inducted. He was also named Canadian Swim Coach of the Year four times and honoured with 12 provincial and national awards of excellence.
There will be a memorial service for Tihanyi at the Fraser Auditorium at Laurentian University March 9.