World Championships: Kristof Milak Eases to 200 Fly Top Seed in 1:52.39

MILAK Kristof HUN 200m Butterfly Men Heats Swimming FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 20/06/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Kristof Milak Eases to 200 Fly Top Seed in 1:52.39

The quick summation of the men’s 200 fly at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest reads, “everyone is chasing Kristof Milak.”

In the water Monday, that looked not only true but like a pursuit that will ultimately be futile.

Milak, the reigning Olympic and world champion, showed no weaknesses in demolishing the field in the semifinal, his time of 1:52.39 the fastest in the world in 2022 by a clear second. He was 1.62 seconds up on the chasers as he looks to add to his Tokyo Olympic and 2019 World Championships.

The only question in the final may be if Milak can break his world record of 1:50.73, set at the 2019 World Championships. Only a broken suit, he believed, kept him from that in Tokyo last summer. In front of home fans in Budapest, it would make for a storybook swim.

The field pursuing Milak is well behind but close to one another, in what might be a battle for silver. Tomoru Honda of Japan, who entered with the top time in the world in 2022, was second in 1:54.01. Noe Ponti lowered his Swiss record to 1:54.20 to get third.

Frenchman Leon Marchand went 1:54.32 to set the French record. It downs a 20-year-old mark set by Franck Esposito at 1:54.62 on April 18, 2002. Marchand was born on May 17, 2002.

One American made the final, with Luca Urlando comfortably in the field in 1:54.50, riding the wave of the faster second heat. On the outside looking in was Trenton Julian, who was in decent shape at 150 meters but faded badly on the end with a 32.38 final 50. That was the slowest in the field by nearly a second, with only three others (including Urlando, worryingly) slower than 31 seconds.

Milak with have a countryman for company in the final in Tamas Kenderesi, who was sixth. Italy’s Alberto Razzetti was second, while James Guy of Great Britain went out quickly from an outside lane in the first heat and hung on by a tenth to get the eighth and final spot. That bumps Olympic finalist Krzysztof Chmielewski of Poland. Combined with the withdrawal of Chad le Clos, only three swimmers – winner Milak, silver medalist Honda and fourth-place Kenderesi – are held over from the Tokyo final heat.



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