Tokyo-bound Peaty keeping things simple in record-breaking breaststroke exploits

Sportsbeat
·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Adam Peaty of United Kingdom poses with his Olympic gold medal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS/File Photo

When you are the fastest breaststroke swimmer in history, why complicate matters? Adam Peaty certainly won’t.

Peaty will head to Tokyo this summer as the overwhelming favourite in the 100m breaststroke, to the point that anything less than gold for the Uttoxeter swimmer would be a seismic upset.

Between Covid-19 protocols, the change in schedule to morning finals and even a few sleepless nights in the build-up as a new parent, there are excuses out there for Peaty if it does not click for him.

Ask him about them, however, and his answer is straightforward.

“You can overthink it. It’s two lengths of the bath to me. I swim two lengths faster than anyone else on a certain stroke and that’s as simple as I’m going to keep it,” said Peaty, who is looking to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997.

At Rio 2016, Peaty became the first British man to win Olympic swimming gold in 24 years when he won the 100 metres breaststroke and in Tokyo he could become the first Brit to ever retain an Olympic swimming title.

While he had already qualified for Tokyo by virtue of his performances at the World Championships in 2019, Peaty used the recent Olympic trials to blitz the field once again and lay claim to the 20 fastest 100m breaststroke times in history.

His world record of 56.88 is in a different stratosphere to his rivals. No one else has even broken the 58-second barrier, although Peaty expects that to change come Tokyo.

However, the scary thing for his competitors is that the 26-year-old insists he can still go even quicker.

“We’ve done the sums, I think if it went absolutely perfect, that’s the fastest parts I’ve done in a physical race, if you put them together it’s 56.2 or 56.3 which is absolutely ridiculous,” added Peaty, one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme.

“But you never say never you’ve got to put the marker somewhere. I’m not saying that I’m going to do that but I do believe I can get faster than the world record.

“Obviously we’ve had Covid-19 this year but my preparation is much better, much more focused, I’m much more hungry for it. I think having that time off through Covid has given me a second wind that I needed.”

It will be a more hectic competition for Peaty than in Rio, with the introduction of the mixed medley relay adding to his schedule.

That also increases his chances of multiple titles though, after the 100m breaststroke gold and men’s medley relay silver in Rio.

And Peaty knows that he will have to manage the challenges that come with busier schedule.

He added: “I know it’s going to be a longer process with an Olympics being nine days long. You’ve got the semi-finals and the mixed medley this time and then obviously the medley relay so it’s just managing the energy more than anything.”

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