Kristof Milak sent shudders across poolsides around the world as he took a sledgehammer to Michael Phelps’ world record in the 200m butterfly as arena swimmers ruled the pool on Wednesday in Gwangju, South Korea.
Milak, of Hungary, led a clean sweep in the event with Daiya Seto and Chad Le Clos rounding out the podium as the 10-year world record was reduced to 1min 50.73secs.
The 19-year-old sliced a huge chunk of 0.78secs from the previous record set by Phelps at the World Championships in Rome in 2009.
He said: “Michael Phelps was never a hero of mine. I was only nine when he swam in Rome. I have seen the videos of his races but they are poor quality.
“Katinka Hosszu is much more a hero to me because I can see her in training at the Duna Arena and I know how hard she works.”
Seto of Japan was 3.13secs adrift in second and Le Clos, who led for the first 100m before finishing in 1:54.15, was stunned, saying: “I’m pretty shocked with what a great time it was, it was unbelievable. Looking at the splits are just phenomenal.
“He actually shattered it! 1:50.7 is a freestyle time: I think I went 1:49 at nationals 200 free so that’s a very special time.
Gregorio Paltrinieri set a new European record of 7mins 39.27secs to win the 800m freestyle title while Adam Peaty swam the third-fastest time in history to win the 50m breaststroke and become the first swimmer to win six world breaststroke titles.
Paltrinieri had won a silver and two bronze medals in the 800m but he was a clear winner as defending champion and team-mate Gabriele Detti finished fifth.
He said: “I mean it’s a big surprise. After the open water last week, I was feeling really tired. It was difficult to change from the open water to the swimming pool so it’s crazy to be here right now at the top of the world. I was silver in Kazan, bronze in Budapest, so just miss the gold.”
Peaty won the 50m breaststroke in 26.06, a time only he has bettered, to win the 50/100m double for the third time.
He is the first man to have done that and moved ahead of Cameron van der Burgh and Oleg Lisogor.
He said: “I don’t know that, that’s pretty cool. I think for me because I am in such a performance mindset that my emotion just stays neutral. I think in my reflection process in the next couple of weeks when I go home that’s when it will start to sink in. Exactly like I won the Olympics it didn’t start to sink in until after I got home.”
Sarah Sjostrom won bronze in the 200m freestyle in 1:54.78 but had to be treated with oxygen following the race although she recovered sufficiently to attend the medal ceremony. Charlotte Bonnet was seventh.
Philip Heintz and Seto were second and third respectively into the final of the 200m individual medley while Marcelo Chierighini was third into the 100m freestyle final. Alessandro Miressi just missed out on an automatic place and is first reserve.
Franziska Hentke was fifth into the final of the 200m butterfly.