Éva Székely - Holocaust survivor and Olympic medalist

Éva Székely (3 April 1927 – 29 February 2020) was a Hungarian swimmer. She won the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and the silver medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics, set six world records, and won 44 national titles. She held the first world record in the 400 m individual medley in 1953.


Szekely was born in Budapest, Hungary.

In 1941 Székely set a national speed record, although she was barely allowed to start because she was a Jew. As a child, she competed for a local swim team. In 1941, at 14 years of age, she was expelled from the team because she was Jewish. She was excluded from competition for the next four years, and survived the Holocaust partly because she was a famous swimmer. Towards the end of World War II, she lived with 41 people in a crowded two-room “safe-house” in Budapest run by the Swiss, and to keep in shape, every day she ran up and down five flights of stairs 100 times.

At the end of World War II she met her husband, Dezső Gyarmati, from whom she was later divorced and who in 2013 predeceased her, who was a three-time Olympic water polo champion (1952, 1956, and 1964) in water polo.

Her daughter, Andrea Gyarmati, born in 1954, was a backstroke and butterfly swimmer who won two medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 the family defected to the US but they didn’t stay, returning to Hungary to care for Székely's parents. Evas Records

100 m Freestyle

  • 1:05,8 (1950. szeptember 2., Budapest) országos csúcs

200 m Freestyle

  • 2:35,4 (1947. május 28., Budapest) országos csúcs

  • 2:35,2 (1947. augusztus 16., Budapest) országos csúcs

  • 2:34,0 (1948. július 17., Budapest) országos csúcs

  • 2:31,4 (1949. július 23., Budapest) országos csúcs

  • 2:27,5 (1951. május 6., Moszkva) országos csúcs