As Adam Peaty entered the final metres of the 100m breaststroke, there was clear water between him and second place. He punched the air as he set another championship record of 57.47 seconds. The world had once again been obliterated by the 22-year-old from Uttoxeter.
He said there would be no defence of his title, it would only be an attack and that was certainly proved true. Kevin Cordes, the American swimmer, was beaten by Peaty by well over a second. There has been an absence of Great British male medal-winning swimmers for decades, but since bursting onto the scene at the last World Championships in 2015, he has been an unstoppable force and no swimmer has been able to get near him. Peaty got off to a great start, something which he usually finds difficult to do, and at the halfway mark, he was 0.11 seconds under the world record which he set in Rio last year.
Coming into the Swimming Championships, Peaty revealed his target of swimming the 100m under the 56 second mark, and halfway through the race, he was well on course to do so. But as the race approached its conclusion, Peaty only just missed out on his world record by 0.34 seconds. The fact that Peaty concentrates on the clock, rather than his opponents shows just how ahead of everybody else he is.
Adam Peaty is the most competitive athlete you will meet, always wanting to go one better, and not letting anything get in the way of him achieving faster times. After the race, he described the journey that he has been on:
I came from the bottom and went all the way to the top from all of my hard work and dedication.
I was like a little boy going out to that crowd… I was on target for the record but I just missed out… I’m so happy with that.
His progress from the 2015 World Championships has been remarkable. It was there, where he set the world record of 57.92, but has since smashed that time twice. The target of going under 56 seconds is well within his grasp, especially for somebody who has tenacity, drive and dedication in abundance. The time he set in Rio of 57.13 seconds was way more than he imagined before the Olympics. It is not a matter of whether he will go under 56 seconds, it’s a matter of when. At the age of 22, Peaty has already won in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the World and the European Championships. But he shows no sign of stopping and the only question remains how far he can go.
Elsewhere in the pool, Ben Proud became the World Champion in the 50m butterfly at a time of 22.75 beating the Brazilian in second place by 0.04 seconds. It is a rich time for British Swimming who only have 30,000 or so swimmers to select from, compared to USA’s 400,000 who dominate this event year in year out. It can surely only get better for Great Britain going into the Commonwealth Games next year and the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.