László Cseh ©Getty Images

  2011 Summer Universiade, Shenzhen: 200 metres butterfly gold, 200m individual medley gold, 400m individual medley gold. 

By the time Hungary's László Cseh competed at his first and only Summer Universiade, in Shenzhen in 2011, he was, at 25, one of the older athletes involved.

He was already the owner of three Olympic silvers and a bronze, one world gold, three world silvers and four world bronze medals, not to mention eight European gold medals.

But for Cseh, who was studying industrial engineering at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, competing at the 26th edition of the International University Sports Federation's flagship event in China was a pressing need.

The swimming events, from August 13 to 19, came shortly after the World Swimming Championships that had been held from July 24 to 31 in Shanghai, where Cseh had experienced the most unexpected failure of his career.

Cseh left Shanghai with no more than a single medal - bronze in the 200 metres medley - having finished an ignominious 22nd on the final day in his favourite event, the 400m medley, in which he had won world gold in 2005.

There were suggestions that he had suffered with asthma in Shanghai, or that he had reacted badly to the humidity, or that he had other physical or even mental problems during that competition. 

For Cseh it proved to be a crisis point, and after arriving in Shenzhen he announced: "It will be important for my soul. A real sportsman can stand up after a failure like this, and I really have come to show that I can."

László Cseh won three Summer Universiade gold medals at his sole appearance ©Getty Images
László Cseh won three Summer Universiade gold medals at his sole appearance ©Getty Images

On paper the events he entered were his to win - with his nemesis Michael Phelps of the United States, who had won every Olympic race in which he had earned a medal, absent.

But making it happen in water, given the jolt he had suffered to his confidence in Shanghai, was not a simple matter.

History records that Cseh rose supremely to the challenge in Shenzhen, winning the 200m butterfly in 1min 55.87sec, the 200m medley in 1:57.86 and the 400m medley in 4:12.67.

His times in Shenzhen were all at, or better, than his times in Shanghai, and Cseh was back in full operation.

The following year he earned an Olympic bronze in the 200m medley. At this point, every Olympic medal he had earned had still come in a race won by Phelps.

That changed at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where for once Phelps didn't finish ahead of him. In fact he finished dead level, along with London 2012 gold medallist Chad le Clos of South Africa. All took 100m butterfly silver behind Singapore's Joseph Schooling.

After Shenzhen, Cseh picked up another four world medals, including a second gold in 2015 in the 200m butterfly, and he increased his collection of European golds to 14.