Peaty Becomes First Swimmer To Win Six World Breaststroke Titles With 26.06 50m Win: Silver And Bronze For Brazil

World Swimming Championships (Adam Peaty)

Gwangju, Day 4 Finals

Adam Peaty Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Men’s 50m breaststroke

Adam Peaty seemingly writes a new line in the history books every time he swims and Wednesday night was no different after victory in the 50m breaststroke saw him become the first swimmer to win six world titles in breaststroke events.

The Briton won in 26.06secs – the third-fastest time in history – to become the first man to complete the 50 and 100m breaststroke double for the third time, moving ahead of Cameron van der Burgh and Oleg Lisogor.

Brazil filled out the rest of the podium with Felipe Lima second in 26.66 and Joao Gomes Junior taking bronze in 26.69.

It is a measure of how accustomed people have become to Peaty taking his events through a complete timewarp that without fail he is asked post-race: “happy with that?”

Never mind that he may well have – and probably will have – delivered one of the fastest times in history over either 50m and 100m breaststroke.

The 17 fastest times over 100m and nine of the top 10 over 50m. Six world titles in six individual finals. Five world records over 100m and four in the one-length dash. Beaten once in four years. Only Katie Ledecky eclipses Peaty with the 18 fastest times over 800m although that will be extended this week if her health is good enough for her to compete.

Maybe there is a lack of understanding in some quarters of exactly what he has done and continues to do, about how privileged we are to witness his journey with coach Mel Marshall.

Great Britain team-mate James Wilby won silver for a British one-two in the 100m in Gwangju a full 1.32secs behind Peaty.

The pair train in the same Loughborough pool, albeit under different coaches, and Wilby said Peaty had forced him and others to reconsider what is possible.

“It’s not always possible but for me with my swimming and the motivation I have got behind me I try to get myself in the mindset of anything’s possible,” he said. “Seeing him do his stuff certainly motivates me for my goals and they are entirely possible.

“It’s not really about what you can do and what you can’t do. It’s just focusing on your own stuff. I am sure if you had asked Adam God knows how many years ago he would have said a similar sort of thing.”

After all, who would have thought when he made his long-course international debut five years ago at the 2014 Commonwealth Games that we would see him – or anyone for that matter – go under 57 seconds? To dip inside 26 seconds? Madness, surely?

Marshall, who has guided Peaty since he walked through her doors at the City of Derby club aged 14, said to Swimming World after he stopped the clock at 56.88: “On the year of 50 years of landing on the moon, tonight we went into orbit but tomorrow we must land on the big one and complete the mission.”

He did of course but felt compelled to point out the magnitude of his achievement in becoming the first man to win three breaststroke world titles in the fourth-fastest time in history and one just 0.01secs off the time that steered him to Olympic gold in 2016.

While he is taking other swimmers with him, the gap between Peaty and the chasing shoal has not narrowed.

Peaty once said that in the absence of others pushing him that he “would have to pioneer himself” and a pioneer he is.

Like Michael Phelps before him, process is key for the Briton. Marshall recalls how he has always needed to know why she wants him to do what she has asked of him. Once satisfied with the reason, he will give everything and pay attention to every detail.

Marshall is a two-time Olympian with world, European and commonwealth medals to her name.

The 37-year-old has experienced the highs and lows that sport can throw at you: after going into the 2004 Olympics ranked first in the 200m she finished 16th.

It was devastating for Marshall who retired immediately after the 2008 Games in Beijing but through traumatic experiences and introspection comes knowledge and empathy.

more to follow

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