Kristof Milak Posts Strong 200 Fly Heats With 1:54; Daiya Seto Close Behind

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Kristof Milak posted a 1:54 in the 200 fly heats. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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FINA World Swimming Championships (Kristof Milak)

Gwangju 2019

Day Three Heats (Men’s 200 Fly)

Hungary’s Kristof Milak posted the quickest time in the 200 butterfly heats on Tuesday morning at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Milak swam a 1:54.19 to lead the 16 qualifiers into the semifinals as he is looking to win the first world title in his career. Milak, 19, won the silver in the 100 fly two years ago in Budapest and is making his Worlds debut in the 200.

“I don’t feel any pressure coming here, especially not for the 200,” Milak said after the race. “Maybe in the 100 I need to find out something how to catch Caeleb Dressel and the others so that is a little bit more complicated but the focus is on the 200 and the 100 can come later.”

Milak had a good race with Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:54.56) in his heat as they claimed the top two seeds. Seto and Milak look to be the gold medal favorites as they cruised to 1:54s. South Africa’s Chad Le Clos, who is the reigning world champion, is seeded fifth after an easy 1:56.17. He has two world titles in this event from 2013 and 2017, along with an Olympic title from 2012.

Le Clos had nothing but good things to say about Milak.

“It’s crazy actually. All these guys are swimming really well but Kristof is really taking the 200 to a new level. Fair play to him – we’ll see tomorrow night.” Milak was made aware of these comments and said he was “very honored Chad was saying this.”

Le Clos has been battling a hernia this week that may require him to undergo surgery after the World Championships.

“It is what it is,” he said after the heats. “I don’t feel it when I swim so it’s okay. I don’t make excuses, it’s all good. I’m happy to be here. Happy to be racing, hopefully make the final and then let’s give these young kids a run for their money and let’s see what happens.”

Ukraine’s Denys Kesyl was the surprise of the morning as he swam a 1:55.82 to get the third seed. Kesyl will turn 19 in October and is making his Worlds debut. Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus (1:56.05) is seeded fourth as the heats were not particularly quick across the board. Belgium’s Louis Croenen (1:56.35) and Bulgaria’s Antani Ivanov tied for sixth.

USA’s Zach Harting was the lone American to advance to the semifinals as he was eighth in 1:56.42. Justin Wright was the other entry and was 18th at 1:57.18.

Australia’s Matthew Temple (1:56.54) and David Morgan (1:56.90) also advanced to the semifinals with their swims, placing ninth and 12th, respectively. Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi, who came in as the second overall seed, finished 11th with a 1:56.82. He will have to step up his game if he is to get into the final.

1 MILAK Kristof Hungary HUN 1:54.19
2 SETO Daiya Japan JPN 1:54.56
3 KESYL Denys Ukraine UKR 1:55.82
4 DE DEUS Leonardo Brazil BRA 1:56.05
5 LE CLOS Chad South Africa RSA 1:56.17
6 CROENEN Louis Belgium BEL 1:56.35
6 IVANOV Antani Bulgaria BUL 1:56.35
8 HARTING Zach United States of America USA 1:56.42
9 TEMPLE Matthew Australia AUS 1:56.54
10 BURDISSO Federico Italy ITA 1:56.64
11 KENDERESI Tamas Hungary HUN 1:56.82
12 MORGAN David Australia AUS 1:56.90
13 MELO Luiz Altamir Brazil BRA 1:57.08
14 HYLAND Brendan Ireland IRL 1:57.09
15 DARRAGH Mackenzie Canada CAN 1:57.13
16 SHEMBEREV Maksym Azerbaijan AZE 1:57.14