SS HYPE MACHINE: Kristof Milak’s Charge to the Phelps’ 200 Fly World Record


What if we told you that American swimmer Caeleb Dressel wasn’t the only one who might break a Michael Phelps butterfly World Record this week in Gwangju? 19-year-old Hungarian Kristof Milak has been making a name for himself after snagging the 2017 silver medal during the world 100 fly final. He then made his mark at the 2018 European Championships when he won the gold medal in the 200 fly. As the current world junior record-holder, Milak comes into this year’s Worlds meet with heavy medal contention. But after his stunning semifinal swim from Tuesday morning (US time), Milak could also come into the final on a world record watch.

During the semifinals of the men’s 200 fly, Milak asserted himself after the 150 mark and pulled away from the field. He closed the race in a 29.12, the fastest closing split of the entire field by seven-tenths, to post a 1:52.96, nearly 3 seconds ahead of the nearest swimmer (Zach Harting 1:55.26). That time ties Milak as the 11th-fastest performance in history, the same time that South African Chad le Clos won with at the 2012 Olympics. And even after accelerating away from Le Clos in the last 20 meters in the semi-final, he didn’t look that gassed – no dig into his bag for that final stroke to the wall.

That time chipped down Milak’s former season best and world leading time of 1:53.19. However, that time is still not a lifetime best for Milak. At the 2018 Hungarian Championships, Milak swam to a new world junior record of 1:52.71, putting up the 6th-fastest performance in history. Milak is also the 3rd-fastest performer in the event.

Comparing Milak’s semifinals splits (which isn’t even his lifetime best) with Michael Phelps‘ 2009 world record from the World championships final, Milak’s last 50 was 0.46s faster than Phelps’ closing 50.

Milak 2019 Semifinals Phelps 2009 WR
24.99 24.76
29.28 28.12
29.57 29.05
29.12 29.58
1:52.96 1:51.51

However, looking into the first and second 100 splits of each race, Phelps took the race out faster than Milak. Since Milak’s lifetime best race only showed 100 splits, it would be best to use his LTB and 2019 semifinals time alongside Phelps’ world record and 2008 Olympic winning time (his second-fastest career swim).

Phelps 2009 Worlds WR Phelps 2008 Olympics WR Milak 2018 WJR Milak 2019 Semifinals
52.88 53.53 53.92 54.27
58.63 58.50 58.79 58.69
1:51.51 1:52.03 1:52.71 1:52.96

The only difference that is holding Milak from the world record, ironically, is the 1st 100 that Phelps took out the race in. Milak was able to close his races tenths off of how Phelps did during his two fastest-career times.

All Milak needs to do is be able to take the race out more valiantly while maintaining his closing 50 speed and be able to frighten the 10-year-old record.

Milak swims the 200 fly final on Wednesday night at 8PM Gwangju time, 7AM US ET time.

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1 year ago

Milak is a bold one. He likes to blast out his races. I think this semis swim was a “you can’t touch me” statment to give him the freedom to go for broke tomorrow. I anticipate him going out in a 53 low and trying to hold on

1 year ago

1:55.18 was Malchow’s record before MP took it.

Lane 8
1 year ago

Amazing closing speed. He might have a legit shot at the WR if he gets a little more speed on the first 150 and maybe keeps his head down for the last few meters. My call is a 1:52 low. Looking forward to next year.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

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