Kristof Milak Slaughters Phelps’ 200 Fly World Record In 1:50.73


After cruising to a very fast time of 1:52.96 in the semi-finals, Hungarian Kristof Milak absolutely smashed the 10-year-old world record in the final of the men’s 200 fly, touching in a time of 1:50.73.

The swim breaks the previous record held by the great Michael Phelps, who went 1:51.51 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. That swim came during the super-suit era, and since then, Milak’s 1:52.71 from last year came closest to it.


In terms of splitting, the 19-year-old newly minted world record holder matched Phelps identically on the first 100. He gained a full 0.78 on the back half.

Phelps, 2009 Milak, 2019
24.76 24.66
52.88 (28.12) 52.88 (28.22)
1:21.93 (29.05) 1:21.57 (28.69)
1:51.51 (29.58) 1:50.73 (29.16)

Prior to this historic performance, Phelps owned the four-fastest swims in history.


  1. Kristof Milak (HUN), 1:50.73 – 2019
  2. Michael Phelps (USA), 1:51.51 – 2009
  3. Michael Phelps (USA), 1:52.03 – 2008
  4. Michael Phelps (USA), 1:52.09 – 2007
  5. Michael Phelps (USA), 1:52.20 – 2008

After the semi-finals, we alluded to the fact that this type of swim from Milak was possible, and that he had a great shot to break the record if he was more aggressive than in the semis. He did just that.

This ends Phelps’ historic reign over the world record in this race, first having set it over 18 years ago (March of 2001). Once he broke it, no one stole it from him until today. He also broke the record 18 years to the day for the second time at the 2001 Worlds in Fukuoka, where he went 1:54.58 (the initial record was 1:54.92).


Chad Le Clos went out like a bullet in the race, leading Milak at the 100 wall in 52.55. He faded down the stretch, and Daiya Seto of Japan moved up to claim silver in 1:53.86, over three seconds back of Milak. Le Clos held on for bronze (1:54.15), while Federico Burdisso set a new Italian Record in fourth (1:54.39).

Milak’s 3.13-second margin of victory also overtakes Phelps for the largest in history. At the 2007 Championships in Melbourne, Phelps won by 3.04 seconds in 1:52.09 (which broke the WR by 1.62 seconds).

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4 years ago

Milak vs. Peaty:

Milak’s time of 1:50.73 broke the WR by .78 seconds, whereas Peaty’s time of 56.88 broke the WR by just .22 seconds. Even when considering the fact that Peaty’s swim was half as long, his margin x2 is only .44, giving Milak the favor.

However, some would argue Peaty’s swim was more impressive because instead of breaking someone else’s record, he broke his own, meaning that the next fastest performer in history is a whopping 1.60 seconds back I think. In any sense, this is conclusive evidence that Peaty’s swim is superior right? Wrong.

The WR Milak broke was contested in a really fast suit, so fast that swimmers weren’t allowed to wear them anymore because the… Read more »

Tiger fan
4 years ago

Sorry to say but under today’s climate, I won’t believe anything until he’s been under close drug testing supervision for the next few months

4 years ago

Comparisons are odious but on the men’s side the swim that made me as gobsmacked as this one happened in 1999 at the Pan Pacs in Sydney when a 16 year old Ian Thorpe went 3.41.83 in the 400FS to chop 2 seconds off the world record.

Big Waves
4 years ago

But like Seto… I felt sorry for that little 5’9 guy sandwiched by two 6’3 giants. RESPECT for Seto as well. 1:53 is a good time for him.

phelps swims 200 breast rio
4 years ago

Milak’s WR would have placed him 6th in the 200 free at the 1984 Olympics.

Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
4 years ago

Impressive. Probably even more impressive: Mary Meagher’s 1981 200 fly world record of 2:05.96 would have placed her 5th at the 1972 olympics in the 200 free.

phelps swims 200 breast rio
Reply to  AnEn
4 years ago

I think you are right- that’s amazing

4 years ago

I didn’t think she would be able to do it!!

4 years ago

That anchor by Cate was impressive

4 years ago

too bad Kenderesi didn’t get close to his best time, he would have joined him on the podium

Reply to  Sam
4 years ago

Tough to get a best time in your 4th 200 fly in 2 days

Reply to  leisurely1:29
4 years ago

To be fair, I’m not sure the 3rd one should count

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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