Kristof Milak Sees Beating Caeleb Dressel In 100 Fly As A ‘Reality’


Anyone watching the 7th day of finals here in Tokyo was treated to a shiny new World Record in the men’s 100m fly, courtesy of American dynamo Caeleb Dressel. However, Hungary’s Kristof Milak, the man who already bagged 200m fly gold here decisively, also dipped under the 50-second threshold.

For the first time in his career, 21-year-old Milak crushed a sub-50 outing of 49.68 to check in with a new European Record. Entering this meet, Milak’s previous best rested at the 50.18 he produced at the European Championships. With his result, Milak is now the 2nd fastest 100m fly performer of all time.

After the race, Milak and his coach Attila Selmeci spoke to the press about what future 100m fly prospects.

“Let’s face it, a year ago if someone said Milak was going to swim 49.6, not many of us would have believed him. The difference between the two of them [Milak and Dressel] is getting narrower, if Kristóf continues, it is possible that the world champion will no longer be Caeleb Dressel next year, but Kristóf Milák.

However, Selmeci expressed groundedness about the 200m fly future as well.  “And in the same way, someone can show up at 200, just as he exploded at 100 now. Such is the sport, once at the top and other times you have to climb back from the bottom. No one knows where such talent will emerge, but I am confident that we can maintain our top spot in the world at 200.” (Index Hungary)

Selmeci and Milak have been a coach/athlete duo for 8 years, of which Selmeci expressed,  “A lot has changed during this period, perhaps the most important thing is awareness, it has become much more conscious, I can safely say that.”

The coach said that Milak has ‘become very receptive and open, perhaps more accepting of criticism when he had refused to do so before.’

From Milak himself, the swimmer spoke of his 100m fly performance. “Yeah, I smiled because it was a great race, with great opponents and a brilliant swimmer. It was really an excellent swim now, maybe I left a tenth at the wall, but I don’t think I could come any better now, so I’m proud that Caeleb needed a world record to win.

“In the spring, especially at the European Championships, several foreign swimmers told me, listen, you can do it, you can catch Dressel. I replied, don’t have fun with me, it’s an impossibility.

“Now, however, I have seen that there is a reality to this, and it gives tremendous motivation. Maybe even a little bigger, but definitely different from what I have to prepare for the two hundred, as it seems, at the moment I can only compete with myself.”

Regarding the postponement of the Olympics, Milak said the year delay worked to his advantage,

“I certainly couldn’t have swum one hundred like this last year. That’s all I could do to get stronger, work on my speed, and that’s a good sign to continue.”

Kristof Milak quotes courtesy of the Hungarian Swimming Federation.

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1 year ago

When ppl are harsh critizing Dressel don’t forget Milak also has a lot to improve for his reaction time, start, and turn (he glided at the 50m as well). Thats why this rivalry is so interesting as even now there are endless big “IF” and debates around it, how about the future? Can’t wait for the next worlds. Everything is predictable and unpredictable at the same time. So fun.

2 years ago

Swimming needs rivalries so this could be great. Now the world knows Ledecky vs. Titmus and it’s great for the sport. As superhuman as Dressel is, he didn’t really have an archenemy these games that add to the drama and fun. Maybe he’s just too nice.

2 years ago

My take on it is Milak has been swimming 50’s going back to 2017. Even his trials time at Europe a month ago was 50.18. His back half, if you look at the data, is typically around 26.5-26.6. In the finals against Dressel, he pulled off a 26.0. I think it’s unrealistic to think that from this point on, he will always have a 26.0 last 50. Once in awhile a swimmer will have a ‘near perfect’ race. I think this was Milak’s ‘near perfect’. And in fairness, Dressel had a poor turn and finish, which is to say he really could have swam a 49.0. And Dressel has been CONSISTENTLY swimming 49’s for awhile now. And Dressel is not… Read more »

Reply to  Erik
2 years ago

Milak didn’t have a perfect race. And made a minor mistake(everyone does) breathing near the end.

Reply to  DDias
2 years ago

I said near perfect

Reply to  Erik
2 years ago

All true but don’t forget coach claims he prepared his charge much more for the 200 rather than the 100 so if he does more sprint work (and something tells me his focus will be on the 100 from now on) then he should improve on that first 50 so he’s not so far behind at the turn.

Reply to  Erik
1 year ago

His homecoming was near perfect that’s true but not enough to make it a big deal for him as if he couldnt improve so much. Look at his poor start and reaction time and his turn… Plus the fact that he was much younger and 100 fly was not his main focus? He might need time to pull up a sub 50 again, that’s true, but it will come sooner or later.

Phelps of the lap lanes
2 years ago

Ain’t happening

2 years ago

After Tokyo I would pick Milak as the best overall butterlier in the world, and I love Dressel

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Tomek
2 years ago

If you just go by Olympic events and total time, I mean Milak wins by like 4 seconds or more (and that’s being charitable for a Dressel 200 fly).

2 years ago

I hope this rivalry pushes Dressel to improve. Obviously he works really hard and his times are unreal but I wanna see what his possible limits are and hopefully Milak can push him there

2 years ago

His last 15 in the 100 free beg to differ

sticky rice
2 years ago

I could see him beating dressel in the future but hopefully his improvements in the 100 won’t compromise his 200. He’s so far ahead of the world in the event it probably wouldn’t matter in terms of placing but I really want to see a 1:48 from him lol.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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