The 200m Butterfly is arguably one of the most difficult events in swimming. To do it in a Long Course (50m Olympic size) swimming pool is even more challenging. At the 2019 FINA World Championships, Kristóf Milák of Hungary broke Michael Phelps’ old mark of 1:51.51, set a decade prior in Rome, with a new time of 1:50.73…it’s absolutely outstanding!
Kristóf Milák, at 19 years old, took down Michael’s record in incredible fashion with a monster time of 1:50.73 seconds. That’s .78 seconds faster than Michael’s best time, 1:51.51, set at the world championships 10 years ago. At that time, Milák was 9 years old. And the first time Michael Phelps set the World Record in the 200m Butterfly, Milák was 1 year old.
Butterfly is the most difficult stroke to master: it burns the most calories, and it’s definitely the most exhausting over any distance. In this Whiteboard Wednesday we’ll dive into how Milák did it and what we can learn from this superstar.
Milák burst onto the international swimming scene at a young age. To say he came out of now where wouldn’t give him credit for his performances at the Jr. World Championships and at international competitions prior to breaking the World Record. The Hungarian star comes from a country with a great aquatics culture.
- Country: Hungary 🇭🇺
- Date of Birth: February 20, 2000
- Height: 1.90 Meters (6’3″)
- Weight: 83 Kg (183lbs)
At the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in the semifinal of the 100m Butterfly, Milák set a new junior world record and a new national record (50.77). In the final he won the silver medal, and set a new junior world record and a new national record (50.62). At the 2018 European Aquatics Championships he won the gold medal in the 200m Butterfly. At the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics he won three gold medals and one silver medal.
200M Butterfly World Record
The way Milák split the race is a work of art. He is extremely consistent with his splits on the final three 50s. The key to a strong 200 (or 400) is to have each of the last three quarters of the race be as close to the same time as possible. Read more how to swim the 200 and 400.
- 1st 50: 24.66
- 2nd 50: 28.22
- 3rd 50: 28.69
- 4th 50: 29.16
- Final Time: 1:50.73
Related: 5 Tips to Swim Perfect Butterfly
When you compare Milák to Michael Phelps, their first 100m were the exact same to the hundredth of a second. Milák had an incredible second 100 pulling away from the competition and cementing himself as the fastest 200m butterfly swimmer in history. You can see how he split the race compared to the prior World Record and his own mark
The race was well executed from a split perspective and also by stroke count as well. Michael Phelps was known for stroke efficiency and Milák was able to swim not only faster than the greatest Olympic champion of all time, but also with less strokes!
There are a few fundamental elements to performing the butterfly stroke with proper technique. The main points are outlined below:
- Catch (EVF) – it’s important to initiate each stroke with a high early vertical forearm catch to power through the water.
- High Hips – proper head position leads where the hips are. Low hips are drag in the water. Your hips should rise above the water on every kick/stroke.
- 2 Kicks – the best butterfly stroke technique has two kids for every 1 arm pull.
- Low Profile Breathing – when you breath, your mouth should barely rise above the surface of the water. The higher your head rises on the breath, the more your hips drop and create drag.
- Train Smart – it’s important to train short-axis strokes only at speed with proper technique. Unlike freestyle and backstroke (long-axis strokes) where you can vary your speed with tempo relatively easy, in butterfly and breaststroke it’s critical to only swim at race pace or as close to it as possible. There’s no such thing as slow, easy butterfly.
200m Butterfly Prep Workout
Butterfly is a short-axis stroke. Timing is incredibly important and so is speed. You can’t swim butterfly slow. The best way to train butterfly and breaststroke is through pace. Replicating what race-pace feels like will help increase your performance in the 100 and 200 butterfly. This concept also extends to any style 200, particularly the 200 and 400 IM.
- 12 x 50s [2 Butterfly, 1 Freestyle] – 200pace + 2
- 8 x 50s [1 Butterfly, 1 Freestyle] – 200pace + 1
- 4 x 50s [Butterfly] – 200paace
200pace is your ideal split for the final 3 x 50s of the 200. If you’d like to split 30s per 50 in the 200, then 200 pace would be 30, 200 pace +1 would be 31 and 200 pace +2 would be 32.
Read Also: How To Split The 400 IM Like Michael Phelps
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