GWANGJU, South Korea — Kristof Milak was 13 months previous when Michael Phelps set his first world file, within the 200-meter butterfly. For many of the subsequent 18 years in his native Hungary, Milak studied grainy videotapes of Phelps’s races, squinting on the photos for tips about methods to refine his butterfly method.
The poor high quality of the tapes precluded Milak from gleaning very a lot, he lamented. But that’s not the way it seemed to Phelps, who couldn’t have been extra impressed with Milak’s efficiency on Wednesday within the 200-meter butterfly remaining on the FINA World Championships.
In a race that Phelps watched on-line, Milak, 19, received in 1 minute 50.73 seconds, shattering the world file and changing into the primary man not named Phelps to personal it since 2001, a span of 18 years, three months and 24 days.
Milak completed the primary 100 meters in 52.88 — the identical cut up recorded by Phelps in 2009, when he lowered the file for the ultimate time — then did the ultimate 100 meters zero.78 seconds sooner than Phelps.
“As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn’t be happier to see how he did it,” mentioned Phelps, who received the occasion in three Olympics and lowered the world file seven instances. “That kid’s last 100 was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.”
Milak, who set the world junior file of 1:53.79 in 2017, was second on the 100-meter mark, zero.33 seconds behind Chad le Clos of South Africa, who upset Phelps to win the gold on the 2012 Olympics. Milak mentioned he caught a glimpse of Le Clos, who was two lanes away, as he got here off the second flip.
“But once I did my dolphin kicks, I started to focus solely on myself,” Milak mentioned by way of an interpreter. “I didn’t think of anything else, just my rhythm that I practice in training.”
Breathing each stroke — similar as Phelps — Milak distanced himself from the sector with each lengthy and highly effective stroke. By the time Milak turned on the 150 mark, he was almost half a second beneath the world-record tempo and nicely forward of the sector. Daiya Seto of Japan completed second in 1:53.86. Le Clos took third in 1:54.15.
After Milak’s time flashed on the scoreboard, he ripped off his cap and goggles in a single movement, slapped the water and sat on a lane line together with his arms outstretched as if to say, “Ta da.”
“I didn’t really expect to break the record,” he mentioned, “but I was prepared for it.”
Milak trains in Budapest, the place his teammates embrace Katinka Hosszu, who received 4 medals, together with three golds, on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He described Hosszu because the swimmer he most admires due to her work ethic. Milak’s hair was nonetheless moist from his file swim, however he already was trying forward.
“It’s now going to be much harder to set a new personal best,” he mentioned.
Phelps, in his third 12 months of retirement, nonetheless owns the world data within the 100-meter butterfly and the 400-meter particular person medley. He mentioned he didn’t assume the 200 butterfly mark would fall so shortly. He anticipated to relinquish his file within the 100 butterfly first as a result of Milak was the one swimmer because the 2016 Olympics who had come inside a second and a half of the 200 mark.
“It happened because there was a kid who wanted to do it, who dreamed of doing it, who figured out what it would take to do it, who worked on his technique until it was beautiful and who put in the really, really hard work that it takes to do it,” Phelps mentioned in a cellphone interview. “My hat’s off to him.”
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