British swimmer Adam Peaty added two world medals to his extraordinary collection at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju. The Rio 2016 Olympic champion in the 100m breaststroke also broke the 57-second barrier for the first time in this event, sending a serious warning to his rivals for Tokyo 2020With his world record in Gwangju, Peaty has set the best 16 times ever recorded in the 100m breaststroke.
Since his gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Adam Peaty created "Project 56", with the aim of smashing the 57-second barrier in his favourite distance. It took him three years to reach a time of 56.88, which he set during the semi-finals of the Gwangju World Championships in the Republic of Korea, improving on the last record he set the previous year at the European Championships in Glasgow by 0.22 seconds. "There's no other word, except incredible, to describe this performance," he exclaimed. "Since I touched the wall in Rio, I knew I could go faster. It's been a very special journey so far."
Stiff competition and two triples
In the final, Peaty secured his third consecutive world medal in the 100m breaststroke, finishing just 1.32 seconds ahead of his training partner James Wilby, who is already being touted as the favourite to follow in his footsteps at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. "I'm not worried by the gap separating me and my opponents," said Peaty. "I try to concentrate on what I do in training and aim to replicate it during the race. The Olympic Games will be very different because I'll have to defend a gold medal there. I think I'll be able to find the extra motivation to go even faster."
The kid from Uttoxeter, as he likes to refer to himself, succeeded for the third consecutive time by striking double gold in Gwangju. He set a world record of 26.06 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, beating Brazilian Felipe Lima by 0.6 seconds. With this victory, his collection now consists of seven World Championship medals, 15 European titles and an Olympic gold medal. An impressive haul for someone who was afraid of the water as a young child. His older brothers tricked him into believing that a shark could come up through the bath plug and eat him. Now all grown up (1.91m tall, weighing 86kg), Peaty has established himself as one of the big players in his discipline.
Even his physical appearance has significantly changed since the Games in Rio, following a visit to the tattoo parlour. His biceps are now inked with a huge lion, a nod to the traditional British symbol, along with the gods Neptune and Athena and, of course, the Olympic rings.
Peaty continues to be coached by former international swimmer Melanie Marshall after she spotted him 10 years ago. It was she who realised he had something special when he started swimming breaststroke. So far, it seems he has only gone and proved her intuition right...