Adam Peaty Wins 100 Breaststroke In 58.58 At British Championships & Sets Sights On Paris 2024

adam peaty, 2020 european championships, tokyo olympics
Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

There was a combination of relief and encouragement for Adam Peaty as he won the 100m breaststroke at the British Championships in 58.58 in only his fourth two-length race since claiming the Olympic title in Tokyo.

The six-day meet at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, doubles as the trials for the World Championships in Budapest in June with the eight-time world champion preselected following his exploits in Japan where he became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.

James Wilby was fifth in Japan and had to get inside 59.44 to add a slot in the 100 to the berth he secured in the 200 with sixth in Tokyo.

He duly did so in 59.17 and will now contest two individual events in the Duna Arena.

All eyes were on the Olympic champion, whose presence in the final event of the session ensured the stands remained full – among the spectators his partner Eiri Munro and son George, watching on for the first time.

Out in 27.18 and back in 31.40, the three-time Olympic champion was never threatened to touch in 58.58 in his fourth 100m breaststroke since Tokyo.

It sent him second in the world rankings, 0.06secs behind Olympic silver medallist Arno Kamminga‘s 58.52.

There was, he beamed, an element of relief.

“Yes, yes. I shouldn’t have done that: Mel (coach Mel Marshall) was like ‘if you get into a 58 that would be very good’ – I think she was expecting a 59.0 to be honest.

“Times don’t mean anything for me now: a race is a race and it doesn’t matter if you pop it off around the world – Australia, Budapest, Netherlands, wherever it’s going to be – it doesn’t matter because the race is the race and we have proven that.”

ADam Peaty 2021 Europeans

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

The eight-time world champion had gone 59.58 in prelims, something he described as “ropey.”

He added:

“Three races in it’s always going to be like that no matter whether it’s a British trials or an open meet in the middle of February.

“For me it’s good progression: it shows that the speed is there, it’s a little bit harder to get to. Normally I’m out in 26.7 – tapered – but that is a real confidence boost for me because this year it’s more of a comeback than a continuation of what I’m doing.

“When you have five months off – when you see the likes of Phelps having five months off after Olympics – it’s hard to get back to that kind of stage quick.

“Luckily we’ve had a delay with worlds so we can do it in June so I know I can get down to something if I apply myself right.

“But I’ve got nothing to prove now: this is a bonus now, I’m in bonus territory. I’ve won everything there is to be won as humbly as I can say that.

“This year I’ve got nothing to prove – it’s all about Paris.”

Wood Edges Out Anderson But No Budapest Tickets

Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson booked the centre lanes in the women’s 200 free.

The pair were joined by Freya Colbert in a three-way tussle with Wood leading the way into the final turn by 0.04 in 1:27.85 with Anderson on 1:27.89.

That meant a final 50 of around 28.4 or under would be required to make the cut and although Anderson produced her customary late charge, Wood battled to the wall in 1:57.61 for victory by 0.02secs.

European bronze medallist Anderson, whose PB stands at 1:56.06, was 1.35secs outside the cut in 1:57.63 with Colbert also inside 1:58 in 1:57.90.

Wood told Swimming World:

“I think I surprised myself there because I was quite ill over Christmas with glandular fever so this season from that point was about getting back down to where I was in Tokyo.

“If I do it here it’s a headstart from where I thought I was so I am really happy with that actually.”

Abbie Wood, Glasgow 2021

Abbie Wood, Glasgow 2021: Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

Wood was preselected to the 200IM courtesy of her fourth place in Tokyo, something she believed removed an element of pressure coming into the race, saying:

“I think so. This was a nice warm-up event and it’s something I always want to be in the mix with for the relays because I love doing any kind of relay I can get involved in.

“My real aim here was to get top two and to get a chance to be in the mixed relay or my normal 4×2.

“They all kind of build in to my 200 medley as well so Dave (coach Dave Hemmings) wants me to have a busy programme to replicate what it would be like because I think the Olympics was a bit of a shock because it was so busy.”

Colbert Goes To The Top Of The Podium

Colbert returned later in the session to take on the 400IM, an event now shorn in British waters of Hannah Miley and Aimee Willmott who retired in late 2021.

Katie Shanahan led after the opening butterfly leg with Colbert taking over on the backstroke, a lead she never relinquished.

Colbert, who turned 18 last month, stopped the clock at 4:41.27 – a two-second PB to follow her new 200 free best.

With the 100 and 400 free to come, she said:

“I’m very happy and very excited to carry the momentum through.”

Colbert is coached by Nathan Hilton at the Nova Centurion club where current GB head coach Bill Furniss guided Becky Adlington to two Olympic titles and four medals.

She won silver in the 4×200 free at the 2019 European Championships when she was 15 as well as a glittering European Youth Olympic Festival campaign.

Dan Jervis was just 0.10secs outside the 400 free qualification time in 3:46.44.

The Welshman has already been selected in the 1500 free after he came fifth in Tokyo and he hit out from the front in the eight-length race.

He pulled away on the penultimate length and drove into the wall only to fall a sliver short.

Luke Turley (3:48.52) and Olympian Kieran Bird (3:48.58) rounded out the podium.

Imogen Clark got the evening off to a flying start when she was just 0.06 outside her British record in the women’s 50br.

The 22-year-old was half a body length ahead by the 25m mark and stopped the clock at 30.10, rattling her national mark of 30.04 set at the 2018 European Championships.

Sarah Vasey (31.02) and Kara Hanlon (31.13) completed the podium.

Sebastian Somerset won the men’s 50 back in 25.30 as 0.54secs separated the field.


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