Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) – Olympic champion Adam Peaty warned that he could go unbeaten in the 100 metres breaststroke for the rest of his swimming career after defending his Commonwealth title on Saturday.
The Englishman, who has proved invincible over the distance since storming to gold in Glasgow four years ago, romped to victory in a new Games record 58.84 seconds before his cheeky boast.
“I think a lifetime undefeated (is possible) if I keep on it,” he told reporters.
“It makes me want to sit down and take a deep breath but I think I can,” added Peaty.
“It all comes down to motivation. I was nowhere near my best tonight. I look at the time and go ‘That’s not the best version of myself’ — and I’m obsessed with self-improvement.”
Peaty was unusually slow out of the blocks, but by the turn had blown past fellow Englishman James Wilby and former Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh.
Wilby, who snaffled a surprise gold in the 200m breaststroke on day one, edged out South African van der Burgh by one hundredth to take silver in 59.43.
“I think I was on world-record pace at 50m but I was cramping up with 50 to go and that never happens,” said Peaty, who famously was so scared of the water as a child he refused to sit down in the bath.
“It’s been a big learning curve here. My stroke feels nowhere near where it should be. I think we’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” added the 23-year-old, who has been compared to Usain Bolt for his iron grip on his pet event, the 100m breaststroke.
“I was thinking about the end result instead of the process. What made me so good in Rio was I was focusing on the process, not the time.
“It’s the first time ever where I’ve felt not in control of my race and let the event get to me too much.”
– Swimming’s Ed Moses –
Despite Peaty’s obvious frustration, his rivals were realistically contesting the silver behind the world record holder, such is his dominance.
Asked whether he could emulate American track legend Ed Moses, who won 122 consecutive races in the 400m hurdles between 1977 and 1987, Peaty said:
“I don’t see why not. The more worrying thing is how I keep my motivation high. That’s going to be my next challenge now — to keep pushing and pushing.”
To put Peaty’s astonishing achievements into perspective, Bolt racked up 19 Olympic and world titles over his storied career.
Peaty has won 20 major long-course medals in just the last four years.
“Tonight was all about defending my title,” he said, adding that he would permit himself “a few beers” to celebrate.
“Completing the cycle, the four years undefeated — and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Wilby rolled his eyes when asked to explain how it feels to race Peaty.
“Everyone’s human at the end of the day,” he said. “He’s always smashing it but he’s always worth chasing.”