After claiming gold in the 200m butterfly at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, setting an Olympic record time of 1:51.25 and breaking Michael Phelps 1:52.03 record set in Beijing 2008, all eyes will be on Kristof Milak at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest.
The 22-year-old from Budapest recently spoke confidently about the upcoming FINA World Championships, saying “As I always say, the Duna Arena is my home. It’s my pool; number four is my lane; that is where I train and where I win races. I have only fond memories and it’s amazing that I can go for retaining my title from Gwangju in Budapest.”
But how did Milak join Katinka Hosszu as one of Hungary’s biggest names in the world of sport?
After learning to swim at his home pool from a young age, the butterfly specialist had an explosive start to his career. At the European Junior Swimming Championships 2016, a 16-year-old Milak took the 200m butterfly title for the first time in 1:56.77. Marking his first serious swim below the two-minute mark.
A year later, at the European Junior Swimming Championships 2017 in Israel, Milak would continue his impressive form, setting a new world junior record of 1:53.79. And he wasn’t slowing down anytime soon.
In 2018, at the Hungarian National Championships, Milak would continue to increase his pace, touching the wall with a 1:52.71. The swim would see him crowned as the fastest teenage in history. At 18 years of age, it was already clear that Milak’s early ambitions to win gold at an Olympic Games were showing in the pool.
In 2019, the still teenage Hungarian would capture the attention of the global aquatics community. At the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 in Gwangju, Milak shattered Michael Phelps’ 200m butterfly world record by .78 of a second, touching in at 1:50.73 to win gold.
His achievements so far have been applauded by swimmers around the world. The 22 year-old has the world at his feet. What’s next? The 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest. The stage is set.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.