Adam Peaty has more in the tank as he cruises through the heats

Adam Peaty is a man for the big occasion so he admits the lack of crowd at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre was hard to get his head around.

It did not appear to affect him unduly in his first race at these Games, as he cruised through to the semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke as the fastest qualifier, keeping the rest of the breaststroke world at arm’s length.

Dutchman Arno Kamminga recorded the second sub-58 time of his career, a feat that only he and Peaty have managed, but his 57.80 was still a quarter of a second behind the defending Olympic champion who matched his heat effort in Rio to qualify fastest.

And when asked if there is more in the tank, Peaty was unequivocal.

He said: “Definitely. Heats are heats. I always have cobwebs and I had that at exactly the same time in Rio and I always build on that.

“I was a bit shaky off the start, for some reason I was gripping it a bit hard, but there's a lot of variables when it comes to an Olympics and it's about controlling as many of them as you can. Some you can't control – we were very delayed tonight and it was very hot, but it's about how we adapt into the semis and then hopefully into the final.

“It feels like a fast pool. It was really weird with no crowd, really weird. But those are the psychological things we've got to adapt to. I had no idea how it was going to feel out there, but I'm glad the cobwebs are out now.”

It was a strong night for Britain’s swimmers, with James Wilby joining Peaty in qualifying for the semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke, his time of 58.99 good enough for sixth.

The final event of the evening was the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay where a quartet of Olympic debutants, Freya Anderson, Lucy Hope, Abbie Wood and Anna Hopkin broke the British Record for the second time in a matter of months, having done so on the way to gold at the European Championships in Budapest.

Hope said: “I think this relay, especially, going into Europeans, they weren’t even looking at. So to break the British record at Europeans and go out in the heats and break it again, I think it puts us in a good place for tomorrow morning to see if we can break it again.”

At the other end of the experience scale, Aimee Willmott is the last remaining member of the team who competed at London 2012, and she booked a spot in the middle lanes for the 400m IM final.

Willmott’s time of 4:35.28 was good enough for second overall, even beating defending champion and world record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary to qualify for her second Olympic final.

Max Litchfield did the same in the men’s 400 medley, sneaking home in eighth to set himself as an outside smoker in the final.