Swimming

Adam Peaty on how fast he could potentially swim the 100 breaststroke at Tokyo 2020

The breaststroke world record holder also revealed how his mindset has changed since winning Olympic gold in Rio, and how his son George will motivate him in Japan.

By Andrew Binner ·

How fast can Adam Peaty swim the 100m breaststroke?

It’s one of the most popular questions in swimming.

The Brit's current world record is 56.88, and last week he secured the top 20-fastest times in history.

But those records are unlikely to last long, because the breaststroke GOAT has worked out that he could lower his best time by a whopping 0.6 at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, if he swims the perfect race.

“We have done the sums,” the 26-year-old revealed at the virtual Team GB swimming Olympic team announcement. “If it went absolutely perfect, I'm talking the fastest parts I've done in a physical race and you put it all together, it's 56.2 or 56.3, which is absolutely ridiculous.

“I'm not saying I'm going to do that time... but I do believe I can get faster than the world record because in 2019 we had COVID-19, but my preparation this year is much better, much more focussed, much more hungry for it. I think having that time off because of COVID has given me a second wind that I've needed.”

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I think I'm one of the most chilled out people to possibly do it.”

As the current world record holder, Peaty was a marked man going into the Rio 2016 Olympics.

But far from crumbling under expectation, he flourished. The breaststroker broke his own world record in the heats, before breaking it again to win Team GB’s first gold medal of the event in the final.

“Down that last 50 at the (Rio 2016) Olympic Games, I felt like I had the whole country behind my back. (Many) People would think, “I don't want that pressure,” but I'm like, “If you want to be the best in the world, you've got to welcome it and find a way to perform.

I think I'm one of the most chilled-out people to possibly do it. I'm so laid-back. I'm excited to race the Olympics with the knowledge and experience and the wisdom I've gathered over the last five years.

“But it's an Olympic Games, it's fun! I think win or lose, nothing really changes. I'm just completely free. I'm aware of the competition, but I'm not focussing on them.”

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Evolving mindset

Peaty makes no secret of the fact that mindset is key to his amazing feats in the water.

But there isn’t just one thing that motivates him to be the best.

The Uttoxeter became a father for the first time in September 2020, and that will be front and centre in his head ahead of the Olympics in Japan later this year.

“I don’t really go out there for myself, not anymore anyway,” he continued. “I go out there for my son, I go out there for my family, I go out for the people that support me. And most importantly at an Olympics, you go out there for your country.

“I will carry something in my jacket one hundred percent (relating to his son, George) because it's just a comforting feeling, but also that when I get home, I’ll give it to him knowing that it's been to Tokyo in an Olympic final. I think it's a very good memento just for him to grow with. A little bit of something that he can actually touch to know he was there.”