The story of Tamara Costache, the first champion of Romanian swimming

While Romanian swimming is writing history, we cannot forget the one who started swimming world titles. We are talking about Tamara Kostaş, who became the world swimming champion in 1986 at the age of 16. The first in the history of Romania! He “overcame” the water in record time, four times in a row, overcoming the suspicions of theft resulting from the good start he got, as well as competitors from countries with a swimming tradition. Prahova County Council published his story.

All her life she found herself “dumped” in murky waters. At the age of twenty-nine she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and at the age of thirty-five she will remain a widow, and for a long time she has been in the shadow cone, but life experiences are her strength! A real “lioness”, with immeasurable will, managed to emerge victorious from everything, and coped with the contestants looking at her opponents who resorted to all sorts of tricks to win a thousand seconds: “Girls, gold is mine!”

“When you swim, you only hear the beginning whistle, and there is no end whistle.” And so, between the whistle of the beginning and the end that no one announced to us, Tamara Kostasch writes her life, a journey that will give her the title: “Passion lived in the water.”

Born in Ploechte in 1970 to a family of workers who realized they could better educate and control their children through sports, Tamara woke up in the Vega pool when she was five. At the age of six, she enrolled in a sports class. She took things as normal, but working, but also something local, compounded by the pleasure of competitiveness and the desire to be fast first, which propelled her to the podium. As a child, she achieved the highest performance in the Queen’s Test, the 50-meter freestyle. At just eight years old, Tamara broke her first national record.

Also read “I never accepted defeat. Not even when I had cancer.” Tamara Kostasch and the hero’s story (video)

His childhood was closed and strict: training, school, competitions … He remembers that the only moments he would go out to play were Sunday mornings. “With a friend who was also a performance athlete, I went out at 7-8 in the morning. We were intrigued that it was deserted, there were no children playing. It was our only free time and we wanted to play outside too,” Tamara tells us.

At the age of twelve, he first went to an international competition organized in Bulgaria. Sport gave him this privilege at a time when Romania was a “closed” country.

The medals came on the conveyor belt to her satisfaction and the pride of her father, who took them and showed them to his co-workers.

The moment of maximum brilliance was in Madrid, in 1986, when he sang the Romanian anthem for the first world champion in swimming given by Romania. And the title will come with a world record. Her name was then on everyone’s lips, and she was the center of attention, but less so in Romania.

Each noticeable result comes with the pressure of the next competition. For Tamara, the Olympics were due to come in Seoul, whose sixth place was one of the biggest disappointments. The goal was the podium! She understands that such pressure now falls on the shoulders of David Popovici, whom Tamara saw that he grew up in the pools. “He was always in the water as a kid, he was unfunny, playful, locks up, a kid who did a show around him because he loved the environment he was in. David has a good start and a coach who grew up with him, but also his parents who supported him in all directions,” he told us Our hero.

Going back to her story, Tamara Kostas gave up on competing at the age of 22, when Mihai Goth left, feeling she could no longer fulfill her dream shows.

Starting in the coaching line, he taught introductory swimming lessons for many years. He wanted to train and perform, but he faced all kinds of obstacles.

But the biggest one was to come when she was 29 and diagnosed with breast cancer. Optimistic and combative, Tamara Kostasch entered the race for life, competing with her most feared opponent: Death. He never accepted that the end was near, and after specific procedures, including surgery, Tamara would take into account her most important victory. If there was another chance for her, for her husband, life would end very soon, and at the age of thirty-five she would still be a widow.

But life also gave him the other side of the coin. Instead of her children, Tamara has enjoyed taking care of hundreds of little ones over the years, which she introduced to the waters, preparing some of them for a performance. Parents are advised to instruct their children to swim because it is a purely physical and mental sport, which is an individual sport, but also a team sport (relay), it provides a harmonious development. But he wants adults to understand that performance is achieved over the years, with a lot of work, rigor, sacrifices and trust in coaches. There are situations when parents are very protective, feel the need to interfere with the work of the coach, etc.
He loves children, but in return they know that they are very attached to the “lady”. And even if it seems difficult to impress, then, unlike the “corpse”, Tamara has a huge soul, and her weakness is the little ones. “They moved me and even made me cry from the letters written by the children, which they gave me on various occasions, in which they expressed their gratitude for everything I had done. It is a tremendous satisfaction,” the Romanian swimmer told us.

In 2014, his big dream of owning a swimming department in Ploieşti came true, thus he was able to train the first national champions. Her life has also got in the way of her current husband, with whom she shares her time at home and in the pool. Currently, I’m preparing nearly 20 kids to perform, permanently motivating her motto: “Let’s do it, let’s try to be our best!”


– 15 national titles and 8 Romanian records in short trials
European Junior 100m Freestyle Champion (85)
First world champion in 50m freestyle (86)
– 4 consecutive European records in the 50m freestyle (’86)
Great European champion in the 50m freestyle. Bronze in the 100-meter freestyle (87)
6th place in the 50m freestyle JO ’88, Seoul

For the results she achieved and the work she does in training the new champions, Tamara Kostasch was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Ploechte.

When you are not in the pool, you can relax by fishing, reading, traveling and listening to music.

Leave a Comment