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

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

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

Goag

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

Mental shape was Cseh’s disease in Rio.

Emanuele

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

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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