New York, July 25: A frustrated Michael Phelps praised Kristof Milak for an "incredible" swim after the Hungarian smashed the American great's 200 metres butterfly world record on Wednesday (July 24).
Teenager Milak won the final at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju with a time of one minute and 50.73 seconds, breaking the record of 1:51.51 set by Phelps in 2009.
Milak described it as a "tremendous honour" to beat a time set by a man who amassed a record 23 Olympic gold medals and had held the world-leading time in the butterfly event for 18 years, having become the youngest male to break a swimming world record as a 15-year-old in March 2001.
Milak's time was all the more impressive as he trailed Chad le Clos at the 50m and 100m marks before storming through the second half of the race to beat the South African, who finished third, and silver medallist Daiya Seto.
"As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn't be happier to see how he did it," the now-retired Phelps told the New York Times. "That kid's last 100 (metres) was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.
"It happened because there was a kid who wanted to do it, who dreamed of doing it, who figured out what it would take to do it, who worked on his technique until it was beautiful and who put in the really, really hard work that it takes to do it. My hat's off to him."
This is how a new World Record holder feels after an incredible final in the 200m Butterfly!— FINA (@fina1908) 25 July 2019
Kristof Milak interview few seconds after the race ⬇️ #FINAGwangju2019 #Swimming pic.twitter.com/74JeDd5Lkk