Quadruple gold haul for Kristof Milak at Hungarian Nationals

Kristof Milak rounds off a stunning year which included World and Euro gold – LEN

Olympic champion Kristof Milak emerged as the dominant figure from the Hungarian Short-Course Nationals with 100m butterfly gold on the final night taking his title haul to four in Kaposvar.

Milak, who had won two world and three European titles this summer in Budapest and Rome respectively, was using this meeting to practice race skills ahead of long-course targets in the new year.

The 22-year-old, set a new 100m freestyle personal best despite struggling with illness ahead of the event, on the opening night and went on to add the 200m free and 200m butterfly golds to his collection before further success on the final night.

“The four days went as expected, I could deliver fine swims even in the second half of the championships,” he stated after the completion of his race programme.

Milak claimed World and Euro gold in 2022 – LEN / Simone Castrovillari

“I feel my shape gradually improved and got some great speed on this fourth day – don’t forget, this is the phase at the major events, when things are just heating up, when the weaks start falling and only the strongest guys prevail.”

His only frustration from four days of intense racing was missing out on the 100m butterfly national record of 49.33 seconds, set by legendary swimmer Laszlo Cseh in 2015, with a time which was 0.23 secs short of that mark.

“It’s gone with my third turn, it was as disastrous as it could be, long slide to the wall, less powerful kicks while coming off,” he admitted after the race.

“That cost me the record which I regret.”

Milak and Szabo show mutual respect – HUN Swim Association/Istvan Derencsenyi

The Hungarian also finished runner-up behind Szebasztian Szabo in the 50m free and fly at the event presented by Szerencsejatek Zrt, in Kaposvar.

The sprinter will be joined by Zsuzsanna Jakabos in a small Hungarian team for the Fina World Short Course Championships in Melbourne next month.

The Olympian achieved a remarkable feet, by claiming a national title (400m individual medley) 19 years after her first (in the 100m free) at the 2003 Hungarian Championships.

Her latest success saw her defeat rivals 13-14 years younger than her, including Roma 2022 European champion Viktoria Mihalyvari-Farkas.

Jakabos in action at the Hungarian Nationals – HUN Swim Association/Istvan Derencsenyi

Records fall at 2022 Hungarian Short-Course Nationals

The first was achieved by European 200m individual medley champion Hubert Kos who bettered a five-year old mark in the 100m IM and became the first Hungarian to go under 53 seconds in the event – finishing in 52.82 secs.

Tokyo 2020 marathon swimming silver medallist Kristof Rasovszky was another standout performer, lowering the 800m freestyle national record on the final night.

A week after sharing the overall FINA Marathon World Series title in Eilat with Italy’s Greg Paltrinieri, he edged out young rival David Betlehem by 0.33 secs in the 800m final.

The World junior open water swimming champion had won the 1500m duel earlier in the event, but Rasovszky was not be denied a second time with seven minutes 39.21 secs a new all-time Hungarian record.

“I wanted this win badly in order to send a message to these young gents that I’m still here” Rasovszky said.

Rasovszky is a five-time European medallist – HUN Swim Association/Istvan Derencsenyi

“Yeah, David (Betlehem) beat me with ease in the 1500m, perhaps I swam this 800m a bit smarter, my experience helped me this time.

“The record is fine,” he reflected. “If we wish to improve in the future, all of us, David, me, and the other young guys need to clock even better times than this.”

The next domestic target for Hungarian swimmers will be the long-course nationals which will return to Kaposvar in the spring of 2023.