2018 Euros Previews: How Low Can Kristof Milak Go?

2018 LEN EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • August 3-9, 2018 (swimming portion)
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Tollcross International Swimming Centre
  • Psych Sheet

See all of SwimSwam’s European Championships previews here

Although Hungarian Kristof Milak is the front-runner in both the 100m and 200m butterfly races, the 50m sprint belongs to newly-minted world record holder Andrii Govorov.

Competing at the Sette Colli this summer, Govorov of Ukraine rewrote the history books in the quickest fly race, clocking a monster time of 22.27. That crushed his own previous personal best of 22.53 from just a month earlier and fired warning shots to would-be rivals intending to take a European Championships crown away from the Arilson Silva-trained athlete.

Britain’s Ben Proud is indeed one of those contenders, as the British national record holder ranks 3rd in the world in the 50m heading into Glasgow. Proud’s quickest sits as the 22.75 he notched to take gold at last year’s World Championships, but the brawny speedster was unable to follow through with a Commonwealth Games title after false starting on the Gold Coast.

Whereas the 50m has two clear thoroughbreds leading the pack, the 100m isn’t quite as distinguishable in terms of favorites. Hungarian teen Kristof Milak has been off the charts fantastic in the 200m and has also put up impressive times in this distance.

At the Hungarian Nationals this year, Milak threw down a super impressive  time of 51.50 to rank 8th in the world, tied with Russia’s Egor Kuimov. But, when rested and tapered, Milak has been as fast as 50.62, taking the silver medal at last year’s World Championships in a new World Junior Record-setting time.

Capturing bronze in that Budapest race was my #2 pick here, James Guy of Great Britain, a racing veteran who has given this race more attention since dropping the 400m free from his repertoire. Guy’s personal best checks-in with the 50.67 he punched in the semi-finals at those World Championships, marking the 2nd of 2 times under the 51-second threshold in his career.

Guy had to settle for silver behind Chad Le Clos at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where the Brit notched runner-up status in 51.31, the 5th fastest time and ahead of all other Europeans. He’ll look to improve upon that mark while also holding off very closely-seeded competitors in the form of France’s Mehdy Metella, Hungary’s seasoned Olympian Laszlo Cseh and Poland’s mainstay racer, Konrad Czerniak, among others.

There are just 2 Europeans ranked among the world’s top 20 in the 200m fly event and both athletes hail from Hungary. Hungary’s prowess in the 200m fly event will actually limit them come the final, as just 2 swimmers from any one nation can compete for a medal.

Milak is the lone racer carrying a PB under 1:54 among the European competitors, clocking a monster 1:52.71 from the Hungarian Nationals. That ranks the teen as #1 in the world and places a big target on the Milaks’ back to clinch his first international senior title.

His teammate Tamas Kenderesi, the bronze medalist in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games, is positioned as silver medalist in my predictions, holding a 2018 best of 1:54.14. He’s still got a way to go to get to Milak’s level, but he is still significantly ahead of the rest of the field, including Olympian and reigning European Championship title-holder Laszlo Cseh, whom I left out due to the 2-per-nation rule.

Guy is another name that’s been associated with elite 200 flyers over the past couple of years, holding a PB of 1:55.91. Although he earned a prelims time of 1:58.43 at the Commonwealth Games, the national record holder wound up withdrawing from the event, leaving fans yearning for another solid swim from the Bath athlete.

Newcomer Ramon Klenz of Germany scorched a menacing personal best just this season, rocking a time of 1:55.76 entering these Championships. The 20-year-old’s time overtook a decades-old national record and hacked almost 2 seconds off of his previous career fastest. If Klenz can muster another swim of that caliber, he could rival Guy for a minor medal behind the dominant Hungarian pair.

MEN’S 50M BUTTERFLY PREDICTIONS
Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Andrii Govorov Ukraine 22.27 22.27
2 Ben Proud Great Britain 22.75 22.93
3 Damien Wierling Germany 23.21 23.21
4 Laszlo Cseh Hungary 23.06 23.66
5 Oleg Kostin Russia 23.14 23.14
6 Piero Codia Italy 23.21 23.73
7 Yauhen Tsurkin Belarus 22.90 23.31
8 Konrad Czerniak Poland 23.07 23.49

 

MEN’S 100M BUTTERFLY PREDICTIONS
Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Kristof Milak Hungary 50.62 51.5
2 James Guy Britain 50.67 51.31
3 Mehdy Metella France 51.06 51.69
4 Egor Kuimov Russia 51.16 51.5
5 Konrad Czerniak Poland 51.15 51.78
6 Laszlo Cseh Hungary 50.86 52.46
7 Piero Codia Italy 51.09 51.9
8 Philip Heintz Germany 51.65 51.65

 

MEN’S 200M BUTTERFLY PREDICTIONS
Place Prediction Name Nationality Lifetime Best 2018 Best
1 Kristof Milak Hungary 1:52.71 1:52.71
2 Tomas Kenderesi Hungary 1:53.62 1:54.14
3 James Guy Great Britain 1:55.91 1:56.88
4 Ramon Klenz Germany 1:55.76 1:55.76
5 Viktor Bromer Denmark 1:54.47 1:56.29
6 Antani Ivanov Bulgaria 1:55.55 1:56.49
7 Jan Switkowski Poland 1:54.10 1:56.28
8 Louis Croenen Belarus 1:55.39 1:56.72

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Rafael
2 years ago

Would not be surprised if Milak comes closes or even break the textile WR here of 200 fly..

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
Reply to  Rafael
2 years ago

He’ll come close. I reckon around a 1:52.4

Goag
2 years ago

I think Cseh will take second in the 200 fly. He is in a much better mental shape than Kenderesi. From his interviews (and his swim at Sette Colli) it seems Kenderesi lost a lot of confidence and motivation after losing by over a second to Milák at the Hungarian Nationals, despite swimming his fastest time outside of the 2016 Olympics. I hope I’m wrong though, and in the past month he managed to get over it.

Brownish
Reply to  Goag
2 years ago

Mental shape was Cseh’s disease in Rio.

Emanuele
2 years ago

My pick is two gold, a 50.80 100 fly and a 1.52 low 200 fly.

Brownish
2 years ago

Loretta, Milák will be in the 50 final, I think. 100? Mlilák will win it, Cseh can be better than 6th. .That 200 won’t be easy for Kenderesi, because he will swim before Cseh (and Milák). Milák will win with ER, and the other Hungarian will be the 2nd.

nuotofan
Reply to  Brownish
2 years ago

Brownish or Goag: Milak will swim the 400 free relay? This would be his lone swim before the 200 fly, where he will be ready to have a great, great performance.

Brownish
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

I think, not. Bohus, Holoda, Kozma, Németh.
The problem will be with the 4×200.

nuotofan
Reply to  Brownish
2 years ago

In the 4×200 free I suppose Milak will swim for sure! Ready to a 1.45 leg with a relay-start, or at least 1.46 mid at lead-off.

Brownish
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

OK, we’ve been spoken about this in Hungary. 7minutes will be in between the two finals. Our conclusion was that Milák isn’t be the 2nd, only the 3rd 🙂

Dee
Reply to  Brownish
2 years ago

I fear Britain may have the same problem with James Guy. If he feels he can’t medal after his heat, I think he’ll scratch the SF. We’ll soon see though!

choosy
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

I think he will swim in the morning, because Bohus will have the 50 back prelims

Brownish
Reply to  choosy
2 years ago

Lobanovszkij can swim it, too.

choosy
Reply to  Brownish
2 years ago

But Milak said in several forums that he will swim the 4×100 relay, so if they don’t want to leave Bohus out, than this could happen only in the morning prelims

Ex Quaker
2 years ago

I think Switkowski will probably place higher in the 200.

Caleb
Reply to  Ex Quaker
2 years ago

After the year he’s had it’s hard to see him not going 1:55 low, at least, and maybe a lot faster. Flip him and James Guy in those predictions.

Dee
Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

Tbh I don’t know why Ivanov is getting so little repect. He went 1.55.5 last year as a junior and was preselected for Euros essentially – So his SB is more than likely untapered.

Ex Quaker
Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

I agree with this. I recall watching a short documentary about his training in Bulgaria and his commitment to Auburn about a year ago, and the impression it left was that he has a lot of untapped potential.

ThomasLurzFan
2 years ago

Some “corrections”:
1) It’s DAMIAN Wierling
2) I think Ramon Klenz also ranks top 20 in the world this year
About the predictions:
Would be happy if all of them would come true, although i am not sure whether Heintz will even swim the 100 fly. In the 200 fly it would be amazing if Klenz could again swim sub 1:56 (although i doubt it), no matter what that would be good for.
I think in all 3 events the top 2 are pretty safe picks, but there will be a heavy fight for the bronze medal in all events. In the 50 fly it’s completely open for me, in the 100 fly i see… Read more »

choosy
2 years ago

Does anybody know why Minakov, instead of participating at the Euros representing Russia, swims at the US Junior Nationals? And what happened to Ivan Girev?

Dee
Reply to  choosy
2 years ago

Minakov didn’t qualify. Russian criteria was top two per event, Kuimov and Sadovnikov made it.

choosy
Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Thank you Dee, I thought they also enter four swimmers per event, Minakov was in good shape at the Junior Euros, it would have been interesting to see Kristof and him competing again. And what about Girev, last year he was a great promise in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, honestly I haven’t heard from him since then.

ThomasLurzFan
Reply to  choosy
2 years ago

I am also surprised to hear this, considering that they entered 3 or 4 swimmers in many events, for example in mens 100 breast they entered Chupkov, Kostin, Khomenko and Prigoda.
http://www2.len.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/SWM_EntryList-1.pdf

nuotofan
Reply to  choosy
2 years ago

The Russian qualifying criteria https://swimswam.com/russia-announces-qualifying-criteria-for-2018-european-championships/
Milak is already super-ready to perform at the absolute level: he swam a nearly absurd program at EuroJuniors, a month ago, and northeless he clearly won the 100 fly over Minakov (2002).
The only news I’ve had about Girev in this season was when he swam the 100 free heats at Russian Nats in April, with a time 3 seconds slower than in the final at JuniorWorlds.
He certainly has had troubles, I don’t know which.

choosy
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Nuotofan, thank you for the information about Girev, let’s hope, that his former results at the JuniorWorlds have been achieved in a proper way!
Milak is absolutely ready for big performances now, considering that from April till June he was preparing for his exams, so he couldn’t train as hard as usual.He also dropped the races of Mare Nostrum and Sette Colli for this reason. Nevertheless he had pretty good swims at the Junior Euros. He wasn’t satisfied with his times, let’s see what he is capable of, now that he is tapered and relaxed.

Dee
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Ivan Girev had injury struggles that havent been specified. He returned to some slightly better form this week racing in Penza (23.0/50.4/1.50.4). Not 2017 form, but progress from spring and shows he is coming back.

choosy
Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Well, then I wish him best luck for the recovery!

Brownish
Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Milak won it 12 minutes after his gold in the 200 free.

Pvdh
2 years ago

1:51 son

Ex Quaker
Reply to  Pvdh
2 years ago

I would be shocked, but I’m rooting for him! If anyone in the world has it in them right now, it’s him.

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Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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