Olympics-Swimming-Peaty aims for another dominant display in Tokyo
Adam Peaty can make history in Tokyo as the first Briton to defend an Olympic swimming title but he wants to do more than just win.
LONDON: Adam Peaty can make history in Tokyo as the first Briton to defend an Olympic swimming title but he wants to do more than just win.
The 26-year-old has been so dominant in the 100m breaststroke that until April 30, when Arno Kamminga set a Dutch record of 57.90 seconds, the top 20 fastest swims ever in the distance had his name on them.
The Briton, who set a record 56.88 at the 2019 world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, reckons the best is yet to come.
His philosophy is to train to win but race to dominate.
"It’s not an arrogant thing, it’s just a mindset that we’ve built up," he told reporters.
"I want to go out there and do what I do. And if I do perform, then I don’t think many people would get close."
Tokyo could be the first Olympics where someone else manages a sub-58 seconds time, with Kamminga leading the challengers, but Peaty said he could be even further down the pool if conditions are ideal.
"We've done the sums and I think if it went absolutely perfectly, and I’m talking the fastest parts that I’ve done in a physical race and you put them all together, it’s 56.2 or 56.3, which is absolutely ridiculous," he said.
"But you never say never, right? You’ve got to put the marker somewhere.
"I’m not saying I’m going to go that, before you put it on the headlines, but I do believe I can get faster than the world record."
Peaty said the COVID-19 pandemic, with more time spent at home, had made him hungrier but also more relaxed and determined to enjoy the Olympic experience.
Another big difference to the 2016 Rio Games is that Peaty is now a father - and the arrival of son George last September has changed everything.
"I don’t really go out there for myself. Not any more, anyway," said the swimmer.
"I go out there for my son, for my family, for the people who have supported me to achieve, and most importantly at an Olympics you go out there for your country.
"So down that last 50m at an Olympic Games, I know I’ve got the whole country on my back and behind me."
Some would find that pressure an unbearable burden but Peaty said he thrived off it.
"I think having a son now as well has just made me appreciate these moments a little bit more," he said.
"He’s with me every single day anyway (in mind) when I’m away from him and with him I perform and train like they’re on my back and I like that. It’s just being a father, right? I love it."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford)