Swimming: Cseh sends out Phelps, Le Clos Olympics warning

Hungary's Laszlo Cseh after winning the men's 200m butterfly final.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh after winning the men's 200m butterfly final.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (AFP) - Laszlo Cseh sent a shot across the bows of Michael Phelps and Chad Le Clos with a stunning performance in the 200m butterfly as Hungary enjoyed a golden night at the European Championships.

Boglarka Kapas started the gold rush with victory in the 800m freestyle before Katinka Hosszu won her third title of the competition in the 200m individual medley, returning later to win silver in the 100m backstroke before the pair won their second golds of the night in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay.

But it was Cseh who produced the standout performance and one that will cause ripples with the Rio Olympics only 78 days away.

Phelps was absent from last year's world championships, where Cseh won out over Le Clos, the South African who beat Phelps in what was then his final 200m butterfly in this very pool in 2012.

On Thursday, Cseh was in a class of his own, winning in a championship record of 1min 52.91sec, 2.44sec ahead of Viktor Bromer in second.

While he went quicker in a performance-enhancing suit in 2008, Cseh became only the third man after Phelps and Le Clos to go inside 1min 53sec in a textile suit, splitting the pair.

One of the most decorated swimmers in history, Cseh has five Olympic medals but his collection is missing a gold, something he is working on rectifying in Rio.

"Everything I do is about becoming Olympic champion this summer," he said. "I know everyone talks about Michael and Chad but I cannot focus on that.

"Yes, I am looking forward to racing them and them being in Rio. But I am trying as hard as I can for myself. I don't have that Olympic gold and I am working for it every day."