By Peter Rutherford
GWANGJU, South Korea (Reuters) – Adam Peaty collected his third straight 100 metres breaststroke world title on Monday but such is the Briton’s dominance in the event that he had to remind himself to enjoy the moment despite not breaking the world record.
A night earlier Peaty had become the first swimmer to go under the ‘Magic 57’ mark by posting a world record 56.88 in the semi-finals and while the Briton was on course to set another new mark at the halfway point, he faded on the home stretch.
Peaty, unbeaten in the event at major championships over the last five years, finished in a time of 57.14 — more than a second ahead of compatriot James Wilby (58.46) and bronze medallist Yan Zibei (58.63) of China.
“That constant expectation I put upon myself is a little bit disappointed in me, but I think that will fuel me for next year because I know how bad I want to go low 56, even faster now, and I know exactly how to do it,” said the 24-year-old.
“Obviously run out of opportunities here but yeah, just enjoy it – enjoy the moment.”
Peaty, who still has the 50 breaststroke to come in Gwangju, said he would learn a lot from the performance going into next year’s Tokyo Olympics, where he will defend his Rio title.
“This is still very special to me, winning a world championship title and faster than I’ve ever done it before,” he added.
“It’s obviously a little bit slower than last night as I made a tiny little error with speed on the first 50, but I think the most important thing going into next year is that I’m still learning about myself.
“It’s not like I’ve gone 56 and I’ve got no more learning to do.”
(Additional reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)