Kristof Milak set the world record in the 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday, breaking the longstanding mark set by the legendary Michael Phelps.
The 19-year-old from Hungary was clocked in one minute, 50.73 seconds at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, eclipsing Phelps’ record of 1:51.51.
“It’s a tremendous honor to beat such a great men’s world record,” Milak said afterward. “When I turned back and I saw the time, 1:50.73? All the pressure and tension just went off my back and all the joy came out.”
Phelps initially set the 200 fly record at age 15 in 2001 with a time of 1:54.92 and has held it for the past 18 years. He broke his own record seven times, the last occurrence coming at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
Phelps won three Olympic gold medals in the event — 2004, 2008 and 2016 — and a silver medal in 2012.
“As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn’t be happier to see how he did it,” the now-retired Phelps told the New York Times. “That kid’s last 100 was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.”
Milak, who trains in Budapest, found a downside to being the new world record holder.
“It’s now going to be much harder to set a new personal best,” he said.
–Field Level Media