Kristof Milak crushes own world record in front of Hungarian home crowd

World Records continue to fall at FINA World Championships in Budapest


Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary  - June 21, 2022 Men's 200m butterfly gold medallist, Hungary's Kristof Milak celebrates on the podium after the final REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary - June 21, 2022 Men's 200m butterfly gold medallist, Hungary's Kristof Milak celebrates on the podium after the final REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

The fourth night of the FINA World Championships featured the men’s 200-meter butterfly finals with the top four finishers from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The sold out house was treated to an amazing performance as native son Kristof Milak set a new world, breaking his own mark by a significant 39 hundredths of a second, three seconds faster than second place finisher, Leon Marchand of France.

“This is my home, my pool, I train here, I race here, lane four belongs to me, I really wanted to show something big for these fantastic people,” Milak said. “The Olympic gold means a lot, but winning here, with a new world record, in front of 4,000 people – that eclipses everything.”

It was once thought that a sub-1:50 time would be an unthinkable barrier for the 200-meter butterfly. However, on Tuesday night, Milak broke the world record with an oh-so-close time of 1:50.34, faster than his previous world record set at the Gwangju Championships in 2019. It also gives him seven of the fastest times in the history of the event.

Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary  - June 21, 2022 Hungary's Kristof Milak after winning the men's 200m butterfly final REUTERS/Marton Monus
Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary - June 21, 2022 Hungary's Kristof Milak after winning the men's 200m butterfly final REUTERS/Marton Monus

“Now it hurts a lot, I don’t feel my legs,” Milak said immediately after the race. “I enjoyed it though, especially after the race, the atmosphere and how the fans reacted, except for the part when I climbed out from the pool.

“I can’t really recall my swim, I think I pushed a bit harder over the first 100m, that’s why it was so painful at the end but I really wanted this world record, wanted more than anything. The crowd gave me a tremendous boost.”

France’s Leon Marchand won his second medal of the meet with a silver at 1:53.37, which is a new French record and puts him eighth all-time.

“To be honest, it felt great,” Marchand said of the 200m butterfly. “I had a great afternoon in general, it was a super final for me and I am happy with the silver. And after that I have even won my semi-final in the 200m medley. I had a quite good recovery and two great times today!”

Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary  - June 21, 2022 Men's 200m butterfly gold medallist, Hungary's Kristof Milak celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, France's Leon Marchand and bronze medallist, Japan's Tomoru Honda REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary - June 21, 2022 Men's 200m butterfly gold medallist, Hungary's Kristof Milak celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, France's Leon Marchand and bronze medallist, Japan's Tomoru Honda REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Japan’s Tomoru Honda added to his Olympic silver last year with a bronze in Budapest at 1:53.61.

“It was a very exciting race, everyone was really fast and strong,” Honda said. “I try to keep up the pace but in the last 50m I felt my arms, I almost had cramps so when I came out it was a huge relief – but I’m happy.”

Check out all the action from day four in this FINA daily recap.