Adam Peaty On A Quest To Be The Best Version of Himself With 56.5 In His Sights

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Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Arena

Little is certain in the world at the moment but what is not in doubt is Adam Peaty’s single-minded quest for constant improvement.

Take this.

“This is my journey. I don’t want to be going 58.5s at the championships – I want to be going 56.5s so that’s the end game really.

“To me, I’m just trying to be the best version I can be.”

And this.

“It’s just two lengths, two lengths faster than anyone else, better than anyone else. And to be on the finest form I could possibly be in in Tokyo.”

Peaty’s best in the 100m breaststroke of course is his astonishing 56.88 from the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

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Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Ilya Shymanovich is the second-fastest man in history in 58.29 – the Belarus swimmer 1.31secs behind the Briton’s best who clocked 58.13 at the Edinburgh International Swim Meet at the weekend, a time only he has bettered.

So too is his 50m best a world record, Peaty the only man to dip inside 26 seconds when he went 25.95 at the 2017 worlds in Budapest, Hungary.

Double world-record holder. Olympic champion. The only swimmer to win six breaststroke titles at the World Championships. Six individual European titles. Double Commonwealth champion.

A roll call rarely seen but it is his desire to keep pushing his physical and psychological limits to wherever that may take him that drives Peaty.

To continue making what appears impossible possible.

He told Swimming World:

“I know I can still go faster and it’s not like I’m going ‘oh, I’m going to break the world record’ because some people say that and it’s not their world record so how can you put a guarantee on it?

“For me I’m like any other swimmer going ‘I’m going to break my PB’ because that is the belief you’ve got to have in yourself so I’m not getting distracted by world records or bonuses or whatever because that doesn’t matter.

“To me, I’m just trying to be the best version I can be.

“This year I’ve got a lot of stuff going on but again it’s just two lengths, two lengths faster than anyone else, better than anyone else. And be on the finest form I could possibly be in in Tokyo.”

Peaty Looks To Swim Further Into Realms Unknown

This interview was conducted at the McCullagh International in February before the magnitude of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was apparent.

Sporting events and Olympic qualifiers the world over have been postponed or cancelled and Tokyo 2020 under threat.

Great Britain announced the cancellation of their Olympic trials on Tuesday leaving few qualification meets for Tokyo still standing.

Peaty, though, is going nowhere but on a voyage of discovery.

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Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

He said: “Ever since the last worlds I’ve realised what’s important, what I need to do to get to this next step.

“I’m not really bothered about what anyone else does, thinks or puts down because I know Olympic season more than ever (there) is a lot of rubbish going around.

“Everyone goes’ I can go 58.6, 58.7 mid-season’. Get to the main meet they go 58.6.

“I’m not going to get caught in that rat-race of people trying to throw down times and looking for me to respond because I will respond at the championships when it matters.

“My statistics show that pretty much my fastest one of every season has been at the championships and I always, always perform at the championships.

“Olympic year you can’t get distracted if you want that real reinforced throwdown of a 56 low or a 56 mid.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do that but I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to go there, I want to go there and break the world record.

“That’s always in the back of my mind, I’m not afraid to say it.

“I know everyone else is thinking it and I’ve got a lot of polishing to do on a few things but it’s all achievable. I’ve just got to believe in myself and not get distracted.

“Last year I spent a lot of time thinking about what other people are doing, what they’re trying to do to me.

“It’s all about mind games, strategies on each other, scalps as Mel (coach Mel Marshall) calls it but this year is very different for me.

“This is my journey. I don’t want to be going 58.5s at the championships – I want to be going 56.5s so that’s the end game really.

“I can’t be wasting energy getting caught up in May, June, April going ‘I need to get a good time out just to prove I can do it’ because the last five years people know I can do it.

“So, it’s one of those things, isn’t it?”

Peaty Seeks To Join The ‘Frog King’

Peaty has been guided by Mel Marshall since he was 14 when he accompanied his friend Kyle to the City of Derby club where Marshall was head coach.

Theirs is a partnership which has evolved as Peaty has moved from teenager to young man and from the boy who failed to impress Marshall when she first saw his freestyle to the pair standing atop the pinnacle.

Process is key for Peaty. Marshall recalled once 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.

He narrowly failed to make his first senior British team in 2013 when he missed the cut for the World Championships by 0.05secs, finishing third behind 2012 Olympics 200m breaststroke silver medallist Michael Jamieson.

Rather than go to Barcelona, the Uttoxeter swimmer competed at the ASA National Youth, Open and MC Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

It was there that he dipped under the minute mark, going 59.92, a British age group record, and a year later he won the Commonwealth 100m title and 50m silver behind Cameron van der Burgh, the 2012 Olympic champion who is also the only man to have beaten Peaty when he took 50m gold at the 2018 Commonwealths.

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Adam Peaty – Olympic immortality in 57.13sec – Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

As things stand, Peaty will become only the second man after Kosuke Kitajima to successfully defend an Olympic breaststroke title should he do so in Tokyo – if the Games go ahead, that is.

The ‘Frog King’ won the 100-200 double in 2004 and 2008 with Peaty crowned four years ago in Rio de Janeiro in a world-record time of 57.13.

Reflecting on his journey since just failing to make the British team in 2013, he said:

“Ever since then it’s been tooth and nail and then obviously ahead of the game and still ahead of the game on the 100 and the 50.

“I think this year everything (will) come together, everything me and Mel have done over the last 11 years will come together this year.

“Rio was good but I know I can swim better, I know I can swim faster.

“I’m a more developed athlete, I’m more mature, I’m wiser with my energy and where I’m putting it.

“Yes, it takes a little bit more time to recover but that’s just the process of becoming that mature athlete.

“For me now, it’s how do I secure that legacy in a few months time?”

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