A 19-year-old from Hungary holds the new 200M butterfly world record after shattering the pace set by Michael Phelps a decade ago.
Kristof Milak came in as a favorite to win gold at the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, on Wednesday and while there was talk he could break the record, it seemed unlikely. Even commentators were amazed when Malik clocked in at 1:50.73, shaving .78 seconds off Phelps’ 2009 World Championships time.
It’s exactly one year out from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 200M fly was the signature event for Phelps, who retired after the 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps’ record was set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, when he finished in 1:51.51. It was a drop of three seconds over eight years.
Phelps has five world championship golds in the event, his last coming in 2011. He made his Olympic debut in the event in 2000, placing fifth, and went on to win eight Olympic medals in the 200M fly. He broke his first 200M record in 2001 at age 15 (1:54.91) and continued to lower his time over the years, holding it for 18 years until Milak broke it.
Milak came out running in second, a full body length behind South African Chad le Clos, who finished third in 1:54.15, and came in at the half in exactly the time of Phelps. At the split Milak was .36 seconds under the world record pace and pulled away from the pack on the final lap.
Japan’s Daiya Seto finished second in 1:53.86.
Milak has a 200M fly gold medal from the 2018 European championships and is also the current world junior record holder. His previous fasted time was 1:53.19 at the professional level and 1:52.71 at the junior level, according to Swim Swam.
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