Budapest, Hungary. Hungarian Christoph Milak thrilled home fans by lowering his own world record in the men’s 200m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships on Tuesday, as American swimmers took three more gold medals.
22-year-old Milak swam brilliantly with a time of 1 minute 50.34 seconds and brought Hungary the first gold medal of the competition.
“Now it hurts a lot, I can’t feel my legs,” said Milak, who beat the previous record he set at the last world championships by 0.39 seconds. “I think the first 100 meters got me tense, which is why it hurt so much at the end, but I really wanted to set a world record, I wanted it more than anything.”
Milak was 3.03 faster than Léon Marchand, who improved the French record he set in the semi-finals. Japanese Tomoru Honda was third.
The 20-year-old Marchand later set another national record of 1:55.75 as he was the fastest in the men’s 200m individual semi-finals.
“Two great times today!” Marchand said.
US swimmer Bobby Fincke also set a national record of 7:39.36 with a brilliant run to win the first gold of the evening in the men’s 800m freestyle.
Ukrainian swimmer Mykhailo Romanchuk seemed to be aiming for the win, but Fincke, who was fourth in the last 50 meters, swam it in just 25.93 seconds and outstripped Romanchuk and Germany’s Florian Welbrock in victory.
“I just thought there were only 50 left. It’s only 26 seconds of pain and if I can get the win it’s worth it. I will survive the pain,” Fincke said.
Romanchuk, in third place, finished just 0.69 seconds back. He almost made it to Budapest and then talked about how his father fought in Ukraine.
China’s Yang Junxuan won the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:54.92 and finished just ahead of Australia’s Molly O’Callaghan, who won her first individual medal at the World Championships. Another Chinese swimmer, Tang Muhan, finished third.
Nick Fink then took advantage of Adam Peaty’s injury absence to win the men’s 50 breaststroke in an American record of 26.45 seconds, beating Italy’s Nicolò Martinenghi and American compatriot Michael Andrew.
“I didn’t see anything in the last five meters,” Fink said.
Fink later claimed his second gold of the night by helping American teammates Hunter Armstrong, Torrey Huske and Claire Curzan to victory in the 4×100 medley relay ahead of the Australian and Dutch teams.
It was the 10th gold for the United States at this World Championships, where American swimmers also won three silvers and nine bronzes.
Budding Romanian star David Popovic set the junior world record in the men’s 100m freestyle semi-finals of 47.13 seconds, though he lamented the unexpected late absence of defending champion Caleb Dressel.
It is unclear what Dressel is sick with and whether he will be able to compete in 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly races later in the world.
Another rising star, 15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh, was the fastest with a world junior record of 2:05.79 in the women’s 200m butterfly semi-finals.