GWANGJU • Michael Phelps' world-record time of 1min 51.51sec in the 200m butterfly had stood tall for a decade.
Since touching home at the 2009 world championships in Rome, no swimmer other than Kristof Milak has come close to the mark set by the most decorated Olympian of all time.
At the Hungarian national championships in March last year, Milak recorded the sixth fastest time in history - 1:52.71 - 23-time Olympic gold medallist Phelps owned the top-four timings while the fifth-fastest was set by Hungary's Laszlo Cseh in 2008, before the world record was set.
But after winning three gold medals at last October's Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, Milak warned the rest of the field that he was "getting better all the time", and his "goals for next year are to keep getting better results and to break records".
The 19-year-old Hungarian lived up to his promise yesterday, shattering Phelps' mark as he stormed to his maiden world title after clocking a blistering 1:50.73 in Gwangju, South Korea.
Japan's Daiya Seto (1:53.86) pipped South African Chad le Clos (1:54.15) to silver, but it was all about Milak, who is now the first teenager to win a world title in the event since a then 18-year-old Phelps did so in 2003.
"It's a tremendous honour to beat such a great record," said Milak, who has already set his sights on next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"Everyone will try to catch me, but I will be ready.
• Silver in the 100m butterfly at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships. Set world junior and national record (50.62sec).
• Gold in the 200m butterfly at the 2018 European Aquatics Championships.
• Three golds at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (200m and 400m free; and 200m fly).
• Gold in 200m butterfly at the 2019 world championships. Set world record of 1:50.73, beating Michael Phelps' 2009 mark (1:51.51).
of a second Kristof Milak shaved off the 200m butterfly world record.
"When I turned back and I saw the time, 1:50.73? All the pressure and tension just went off my back and all the joy came out."
Meanwhile, Britain's Adam Peaty completed an unprecedented hat-trick of world doubles in the 50m and 100m breaststroke as he romped to gold in the one-lap final in 26.06sec.
The 24-year-old, who crushed his own 100m world record earlier this week, is the only swimmer to win six breaststroke world titles.
Italian Federica Pellegrini also retained the women's 200m freestyle world title by pipping Australia's Ariarne Titmus (1:54.66) to gold in a time of 1:54.22. Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom, however, sparked fears after she was pictured receiving oxygen treatment following her third-placed finish (1:54.78).
The 25-year-old 100m butterfly gold medallist at the Rio Games had told reporters on Monday that she was struggling to compete with her younger peers as she was "not 18 years (old) anymore".
However, Sjostrom told the BBC that she was okay, saying: "I really gave it my all in the pool and it was a tough race.
"When I finished, I felt really good, but when I tried to get up, I got a bad headache and my blood pressure was high. The doctors would not let me move, it was quite dramatic."
Sjostrom also later reassured her fans on Instagram, joking that it was just "the feels" after the event and she was "fine now".
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS