Commonwealth Games: James Wilby threatens Adam Peaty’s invincibility as relay teams medal

York's James Wilby in action on the Gold Coast (Pictures: AP)
York's James Wilby in action on the Gold Coast (Pictures: AP)
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Adam Peaty may have retained his aura of invincibility in the 100m breastroke on Saturday but the swimmer who is getting closer than ever to catching him is a Yorkshireman.

York’s James Wilby wasperhaps an unlikely winner of the 200m breastroke title on day one of the Commonwealth Games but he backed up his credentials by winning silver in the 100m race and running the great Peaty close.

England's Aimee Willmott competes in her women's 200m individual medley heat at the Aquatic Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

England's Aimee Willmott competes in her women's 200m individual medley heat at the Aquatic Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Peaty swam a Games record 58.84 to beat Wilby by nearly six tenths of a second but as he acknowledged afterwards he was nowhere near his best.

And the two go head-to-head in the final of the 50m again on Monday morning (evening session Australian time) with Peaty having qualified quickest with Wilby breathing down his neck.

It is proving quite the meet for the former York City Baths Club member, who now trains full-time at Loughborough.

And although Peaty is sounding a lot less pressurised after maintaining his four-year unbeaten streak in the 100m, Wilby is confident he can close the gap further still over the shorter distance.

Adam is really fast over 100m and as I have said before I enjoy chasing him.

James Wilby

“I see the 50m as my 100m in many ways,” said the 25-year-old.

“I kind of want to do in the front end what I would want to do in the 100m.

“But I just want to improve on that in the 50m and then on to the relay and we’re done.

“Adam is really fast over 100m and as I have said before I enjoy chasing him.”

England's Elizabeth Simmonds competes in her women's 200m backstroke heat at the Aquatic Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

England's Elizabeth Simmonds competes in her women's 200m backstroke heat at the Aquatic Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

It was a mixed weekend for Yorkshire’s swimmers. Middlesbrough’s Aimee Willmott was unable to replicate the form she showed in winning the 400m individual medley on day one when she finished fourth in the 200m IM behind England team-mate Siobhan Marie O’Connor.

And Beverley’s Lizzie Simmonds, who had worked so hard to get back to an international meet, was eighth in the 200m backstroke final.

But there were further medals in the relay with the City of Sheffield club having two reasons to celebrate.

Ellie Faulkner, a relay medallist four years ago in Glasgow, claimed a bronze on Saturday as part of England’s women’s 4x200m freestyle team.

“It was a bit harder than the other night unfortunately,” said the 25-year-old.

“I didn’t go as fast but I’m happy the team came together and obviously pulled out a nice bronze medal. We’re obviously top of the British nations so that’s another bonus.”

And her clubmate Nick Grainger of Rotherham was joined by Doncaster Jarvis Parkinson – who swims for Loughborough – in winning a silver in the men’s 4x200m freetsyle relay.

Grainger said: “The season that I’ve had has been a very tough one. British swimming and the Sheffield club have been working really closely to get the most out of my season. So I’m over the moon and filled with pride to be part of the English team.”

Parkinson said: “This is my first international senior meet. Keeping composed and absorbing the whole thing as an experience has been massive for me.”

Duncan Scott surged to Scotland’s first swimming gold medal of the Games in a coming of age performance in the 100m free.