The gap between Adam Peaty and the rest might have narrowed a fraction, but he’s not worried—he knows he’s still in a class of his own, writes Paul Eddison in Tokyo.
The reigning Olympic 100m breaststroke champion looked in complete control in the defence of his title as he cruised into the final as the fastest qualifier.
Dutchman Arno Kamminga has now pulled within a second of Peaty’s world record, but even with a long glide into the wall the Brit’s time of 57.63 is faster than any of his rivals have ever managed.
Kamminga’s strength is on the second 50, but when it comes to a fast finish there is no one who can match Peaty.
"I’m a scrapper, when it comes down to the last 15, I know I’ve got something that no one else has got.
“I’ve always said ‘If you’ve got a lane, you’ve got a chance’. I respect my competitors. If they’ve got a lane, they’ve got a chance, so it’s about showing that respect. But for me, as a competitor, I want to put my best foot forward and focus on my own race.
“I know tomorrow it could go either way. It could be a 57.6, it could be 56.6, I’ll see what I’ve got. It’s a morning final so I’ll see what the challenges bring with that as well.”
If Peaty produces a 56.6, that would be a new world record, lowering his own mark of 56.88. Either time would likely be enough to claim a second Olympic gold.
Peaty loves feeding off a crowd, and admitted the lack of packed houses has had an impact, but insisted he is ready to create his own buzz at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
He added: “It’s very strange, I’m just adapting to it. We’ve tried to race as much as we can, putting an emphasis on the heats in the morning to replicate the final but there is only so much you can do.
“When you come to an Olympics you have got way more walking, way longer for food, way longer for racing.
“It’s very strange out there, it doesn’t feel like the Olympics. “When you come here you rely on that oomph, but there’s not many people in the crowd, just other athletes, coaches and media, which is very different. I know tomorrow I’m going to have to make my own story.”
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