He may be an Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion but Adam Peaty admitted the nerves were still there as he blasted his way to the title on the opening night of the 2017 British Swimming Championships.
After easing through his morning heats, the world record holder had to wait until the last race of the night at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge pool to go for gold.
But he did not disappoint with the expectant crowd treated to a display of confident swimming in the 100m breaststroke final.
The 22-year-old touched the wall comfortably inside the World Championship qualification time – the first British swimmer to do so at this week’s meet – in 57.79 seconds to take his third consecutive 100m breaststroke British title.
Second went to Ross Murdoch in a time of one minute exactly while James Wilby was third.
And while admitting to a few pre-race nerves, Peaty had revelled in swimming in front of a home crowd and meeting the qualification criteria for this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.
“I came here to get the job done, get done and back to training,” said Peaty, who will be aiming to defend three world titles this summer, told British Swimming.
“Hopefully I put on a good race in for the crowd, it makes such a difference to have them here.
“I was quite nervous, I don’t know why. I need nerves to get me going. I love the arena I race in, I love the crowd. At the end of the day, a race is a race.
“A lot of people struggle to go to an Olympics, win it and then carry on.
“That’s when me and Mel [Marshall] said if we do this and win we come back and carry on doing the same for the next four years to Tokyo. We still had a lot of work to do on my race when we came home.
“This is the kind of arena I was born in and this is what I race for but a race is a race for me and this is what I showed tonight hopefully.”
Peaty was not the only Rio Olympian to shine either with double silver medallist James Guy taking the win in the 400m freestyle.
The 21-year-old led from the first turn and eventually touched the wall in 3:44.74 to swim under the consideration time for the World Championships.
“There were a lot of fast guys there tonight and that’s great for the British team. I swam my own race with my own tactics and luckily it paid off,” he said.
“World Championships are the main target for me this year. I know I have so much more to give and I can’t wait.”
Olympic silver medallist Stephen Milne finished second – also under the consideration time for the Worlds – with fellow Olympian Max Litchfield in third.
Elsewhere, three-time Olympian Hannah Miley showed her experience to take victory in the 400m individual medley in 4:34.12 – inside the consideration time for the World Championships – with Aimee Willmott also dipping under the time in second and Abbie Wood third.
There was also success for Eleanor Faulkner who swam a new personal best 1:57.88 to win the women’s 200m freestyle ahead of Kathryn Greenslade and double Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin.
Fellow Olympian Chris Walker-Hebborn was victorious in the 50m backstroke while Imogen Clark set a new British record 30.21 in the 50m breaststroke.
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