Peaty left surprised as world record is shattered

Britain's Adam Peaty swims when setting a new world record in a men's 50-meter breaststroke.Britain's Adam Peaty swims when setting a new world record in a men's 50-meter breaststroke.
Britain's Adam Peaty swims when setting a new world record in a men's 50-meter breaststroke.
Adam Peaty surprised even himself after improving his own 50m breaststroke world record by almost half a second in one day at the World Championships in Budapest yesterday.

Olympic champion Peaty won 100m breaststroke gold on Monday’s second day and vowed there would be “something special” over one length the next day.

But even the 22-year-old Uttoexter swimmer did not expect what happened – a 0.47 seconds improvement on the world record of 26.42secs he set in winning the 50m title in Kazan, Russia in 2015.

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Peaty clocked 26.10 in the morning heat, 0.44 ahead of his nearest rival, and improved his mark to 25.95 in the evening semi-final, 0.73 clear of the field.

“I didn’t think I was going to do that,” said Peaty, who shook his head in disbelief after seeing his time.

Peaty, though, knows what matters is the title today, when he will likely also be part of the British 4x100m mixed medley relay team seeking to win successive golds after victory in 2015.

He added: “I enjoyed it. Obviously it’s nothing without the gold that goes along with it.

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“I’m going to be focusing now, staying neutral and see what we get (today).”

Peaty’s advantage is a huge margin over two lengths of the pool, let alone one.

But he is focused on himself, having learned from experience since 2014 and winning Commonwealth, European, world and Olympic titles.

“This morning I wasn’t prepared to do a world record,” Peaty added.

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“It was just me easing through the stroke and touching the wall. Progressing to the semi-final.

“It was the same (last night). I was on such a massive high from the morning and it was so hard to ignore the fact that I did a world record and try to get myself emotionally ready.

“I thought I was going to go slower (in the semi-final) because I was a little bit less energetic,” he said

Peaty has the five fastest times in history over 50m breaststroke, a non-Olympic event, and admitted a sub-26 seconds swim had not been on his radar, with his focus on ‘Project 56’, swimming beneath 57 seconds over 100m, since Rio.

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He said: “This morning everyone was like ‘Project 25’ and I was like ‘go on then’.

“I just dived in and was like ‘I feel good’. I wasn’t that far behind after the start, which was a bonus for me.”

Peaty surfaces sooner than his rivals, but he is so powerful that he surges through the water.

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, Peaty’s predecessor as world champion in 2013, clocked 26.54 in the morning heat, but finished his semi-final in 26.74 as Brazil’s Felipe Lima beat him in 26.68.

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Peaty is likely to be kept in reserve in the morning heats of the mixed medley relay, with Ross Murdoch an able deputy, and, assuming they qualify, Britain will be confident of success with Peaty coming in for an event which is now on the Olympic programme.

Duncan Scott and James Guy earlier missed out on adding to Britain’s medal collection, which included Ben Proud’s 50m butterfly gold on Monday.

Scott and Guy had to settle for fourth and fifth place, respectively, in the 200m freestyle as Olympic champion Sun Yang of China won his second gold, after 400m victory on Sunday.

The Britons’ semi-final times would have been good enough for the podium.

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“It’s very disappointing. I think I got a little bit carried away at the start of the race,” Guy said.

Scott, who begins his 100m freestyle campaign today, said: “I’m proud of that swim.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong, just others stepped up and 
performed when they needed to.”

Kathleen Dawson was eighth in the 100m backstroke won by Canada’s Kylie Masse in a world record of 58.10.

And Sarah Vasey was eighth in the 100m breaststroke as Olympic champion Lilly King of the United States won in 1:04.13.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, who used to be based in Plymouth, was fourth.