Kristof Milak (HUN) – a promising star for Tokyo

From Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee Member

Last week, FINA published a summary of Kristof Milak’s outstanding performances at the Hungarian Nationals, held from March 23-27 at the Duna Arena, venue of the 2017 FINA World Championships, for the first time in history.

Let’s take a deeper look at the stepping stone that the World Championships 2017 on home soil has been for Hungary’s swimming ace in his promising swimming career.

Budapest 2017 was the event which pushed Milak to the limelight as he managed to clinch a silver medal in the 100m fly behind Caeleb Dressel (USA), becoming the darling of a nation as a 17 year-old new hero.

A month later he produced a 5-gold campaign at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis (USA), including two wins in the freestyle relays – 4×100, 4×200 –, which had never happened to Hungarian swimming teams at any international meet before, just to cement his status as the new swimming idol in Hungary.

Soon in 2018, Milak kicked off his 200m fly stunners, clocking 1:52.7 first at the nationals (held in Debrecen), then at the Europeans in Glasgow (GBR). Ever since the textile-era restarted in 2010, only three of the greatest flyers managed to dip under 1:53, though none of them could do better than 1:52.9 (Chad le Clos, RSA, while winning the 2012 Olympics, then Michael Phelps at the 2015 US Open, and Laszlo Cseh, HUN, at the 2016 Europeans). Again, since 2010 only these three could swim once apiece under 1:53.

Entered Milak, had those two 1:52.7s in 2018, then a year later came that incredible World-Record breaking flight over 1:50.73 minutes in Gwangju, erupting standing ovation even around the warm-up pool among his peers, not to talk about the stands.

2020 gone with the wind, though at the lonely long-course international meet held before the pandemic broke out, at the FINA Champions Swim Series Japanese Daiya Seto, sent a message from China with a brilliant 1:52.53. Milak could not respond – he skipped that event to focus on his Olympic preps… Then lost the focus and…

“Well, 2020 went down the drain” he said last week.

“In the autumn I got Covid, and it hit me really badly. The worst were the post-effects, it took months to get rid of them and I cannot tell that it’s completely over but at least I could begin serious trainings from January” added Milak who was surprisingly beaten by Rio bronze medallist Tamas Kenderesi at the postponed 2020 Nationals held in mid-December last year.

Despite the pandemic and catching the virus himself, Milak has proved the world once more at the Hungarian Nationals that he is ready for Tokyo 2020.

The Fédération Internationale de Natation, FINA (founded in 1908) is the governing body for aquatics worldwide.

Its five disciplines – Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Diving, Water Polo and Artistic Swimming – are all included in the Olympic programme. High Diving is on the World Championships programme since 2013. FINA organises World Championships, World Swimming Championships in 25m-pool and World Masters Championships every two years. FINA counts 209 affiliated National Federations on the five continents and has its headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

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