Kristof Milak, the Hungarian who broke Michael Phelps‘ 200m butterfly world record last year, is recovering after contracting the coronavirus last month, according to Hungary’s swimming federation.
Milak’s coach, Attila Selmeci, said the 20-year-old swimmer had a fever and weight loss amid overall weakness. He has since tested negative but needs more medical tests before returning to the pool, according to the federation.
Milak is in doubt to return for the International Swim League later this fall.
At the July 2019 World Championships, Milak won the 200m fly in 1:50.73, taking .78 off Phelps’ mark from the 2009 World Championships, where since-banned high-tech swimsuits contributed to a bevy of fast times.
“As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn’t be happier to see how he did it,” Phelps said after watching the race online, according to The New York Times. “That kid’s last 100m was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.”
Milak became the first man to break an individual Phelps world record since Milorad Cavic took the 100m fly at the 2009 World Championships, where Phelps snatched the record back the following day. (Later at worlds, Caeleb Dressel broke Phelps’ 100m fly world record, leaving the 23-time Olympic champion with one individual world record in the 400m individual medley.)
Phelps held the 200m fly world record since 2001, his streak of 18 years the longest for one men’s event in swimming history, according to Olympic historians Bill Mallon and Hilary Evans.
Milak was a backstroker until age 14, but even when he devoted to the butterfly, he focused on the 100m because he lacked strength. Milak broke out in 2018 by lowering his 200m personal best to 1:52.71, the sixth-fastest time in history behind four from Phelps and one from countryman Laszlo Cseh.
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