Tokyo Flashback: Adam Peaty Defends 100 Breaststroke Gold; Arno Kamminga Gets Silver

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Adam Peaty (GBR) celebrates after winning the men's 100m breaststroke final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

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Olympics: Adam Peaty Defends 100 Breaststroke Gold; Arno Kamminga Gets Silver

One year has passed since the Olympic Games, delayed by a year due to COVID-19, unfolded in Tokyo. To celebrate what went down in the Japanese capital, Swimming World is revisiting the championship finals – each on their one-year anniversary – by once again running the stories that were posted after the medals were decided.

One entered the Olympics with 18 of the fastest times in the history and a gold medal. One entered without a major international final to his name in his mid-20s.

For 75 meters, they were next to each other, but in the end, Adam Peaty did what Adam Peaty always seems to do at a big race: He pulled away, and made sure he got his hands to the wall first.

“It’s been a heavy investment,” Peaty said. “A lot has changed this last year – more than the last five – becoming a father, buying my first house. The last 15m I know no one has got more in there than me. There is a lot of emotion there. I’m probably not going to sleep for a while now. ”

Peaty defended his gold medal in the men’s 100 breaststroke, winning Monday morning in Tokyo with a time of 57.37 seconds. Second was Dutchman Arno Kamminga in 58.00.

Peaty’s dominance is the event is historically unquestioned, and he took another step toward solidifying his reputation as the greatest 100 breaststroker in history. Peaty is just the second man to repeat in the 100 breaststroke, which was added to the Games in 1968; The other was Japanese legend Kosuke Kitajima in 2004 and 2008.  Peaty has also won three consecutive World Championships.

He didn’t topple his Olympic record from Rio, which was then the world record at 57.13. But Peaty owns that world mark. He had set it twice in Rio.

Second was Kamminga, in his first major international final. His medal is the first in the pool for a Dutchman since Pieter van den Hoogenband in 2004. (Two Dutchman have won the open-water marathon swim since.)

“I’m over the moon,” Kamminga said. “It feels like gold! Like there was this small chance to win and I went for it: I went into the race to go for the win because if you go for silver it’s our race to lose. I think I went pretty good up until 75/80m I was still pretty close but the end was pretty painful – still it was an amazing race.

“It was my first (major event) final and to swim one of my fastest times and win silver – what more to ask.”

Italian Nicolo Martinenghi stayed with the group until the end, picking up the bronze in 58.33. He’s the first Italian man to medal in the event since Domenico Fioravanti won the event in Sydney in 2020.

The Americans finished fourth and sixth. Michael Andrew was never a medal factor, taking fourth in 58.84. Andrew Wilson and Yan Zibei of China tied for sixth in 58.99.

For Peaty, the five years since Rio have had ups and downs away from the pool — starting a family definitely numbers among the highs — but they came with the cost of unseen lows. All of the perseverance through those swings paid off Monday.

“Some days I woke up and it was like ‘this is hard’, really hard to find that emotion,” he said. “To find that kind of performance when there’s no crowd, to find it on the weekend when you can’t go and do what you want, and can’t go on training camps. Hardly any international competition. So that challenge on its own has been very different. There have been so many challenges and some breakdowns as well.”

Men’s 100 breaststroke

  • World record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain, 56.88 (2019)
  • Olympic record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain, 57.13 (2016)
  1. Adam Peaty, Great Britain, 57.37
  2. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands, 58.00
  3. Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy, 58.33
  4. Michael Andrew, United States, 58.84
  5. James Wilby, Great Britain, 58.96
  6. Yan Zibei, China, 58.99
  7. Andrew Wilson, United States, 58.99
  8. Ilya Shymanovich, Belarus, 59.36
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