Peaty leads charge as 30-strong World Champs team named

24 April 2015 / 12:40

In 2013 there were two names that dominated the breaststroke at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona but this time around there will be a new kid on the block.

After losing out on 100m gold at London 2012 Christian Sprenger got his revenge by seeing off world record holder Cameron van der Burgh by 0.18 seconds.

However their duel wasn’t restricted to the 100m with van der Burgh taking the 50m title by 0.01 seconds.

But now both will be chasing the tail of 20-year-old Adam Peaty who will lead the line for Great Britain’s 30-strong team in Kazan later this year.

Since Sprenger and van der Burgh did battle in Spain Peaty has burst onto the world stage and taken world records and European titles at both distances.

His latest sensational showing came at the British Swimming Championships where he clocked 57.92 seconds in the 100m – 0.54 seconds quicker than van der Burgh’s previous world record.

While Peaty might have been able to fly under the radar a year ago he will be the man to beat in Russia but he believes he can handle the pressure.

“I’ve got a big price on my head but I think I have got the skills and the training to deal with it,” said Peaty.

“Last year I was the hunter and was going out there trying to make a name for myself and hunting those big dogs.

“It doesn’t really change, a final will be a final and it will be a bit of fun I think and I don’t know how Cameron reacted to the world record but it will be a good final.

“It’s been a long process of getting my weakness mentally and turning them into strengths.

“I would say I’m really strong mentally now and I’m in a much better place than I was in 2012 as a junior where I was an emotional wreck.

“It’s no difference to me that it’s the first worlds, a race is a race and I think that’s a skill me and Mel (coach Melanie Marshall) have worked on well.

“She says don’t race the occasion race the race and it’s exactly the same, it’s two lengths of the pool the same as I did at the British Championships.

“It doesn’t matter where it is in the world or when it is, it’s the same race.

“It is going to be tough because it’s the best people in the world but I accept that challenge and hopefully my training can pull me through.”

There are plenty more medal hopes for Great Britain with European and Commonwealth champions Jazz Carlin and Chris Walker-Hebborn also included.

There are also spots for Ben Proud, Ross Murdoch, Hannah Miley, Fran Halsall, James Guy and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor.

And head coach Bill Furniss believes the team is a reflection of the strength in depth of British swimming.

“It was a tough week (at the British Championships) but we saw some very good performances as both athletes and coaches rose to the challenge,” said Furniss.

“As a result of those performances I feel we’ve got a well balanced team with particular strength in depth across several events.

“The way we have selected the team has enabled us to maximise our strengths both in individual events and across the relays.

“The challenge for everyone is to move our performances on between now and the summer.

“Athletes have done a good job to make the team but our primary focus is to improve performances in the summer and we will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of this.”

© Sportsbeat 2015