Rio 2016 Medal Moments: Adam Peaty
Swimming

Rio 2016 Medal Moments: Adam Peaty

22 November 2016 / 08:00

Heading into Rio 2016 Team GB were waiting 28 years for a British male Olympic swimming Champion – step forward Adam Peaty.

And that wait had clearly given Peaty itching feet as not only did he claim the top step of the 100m breaststroke podium, but he made it his own thanks a new world record of 57.13 and a winning margin of over one-and-a-half seconds.

It had been coming – 21-year-old Peaty had bettered his own world record in his heat when swimmers are meant to be conserving energy.

But it was all about the finale as Peaty put in a sensational performance that left seasoned observers shaking their heads and a swim of such confidence that his supporters were never really worried about the result, it was over after 20 metres.

“I touched the wall, looked to my left and wondered where everyone was,” he said. “That swim for me was probably my best executed race.

“Coming off the Worlds last year I was a bit anxious, I wasn’t aware of what it was going to be like to compete on the world stage.

“People think you need so much to become an Olympic gold medallist but you really don’t. All you’ve got to do is put 100 per cent effort in each day. My parents have been there from the absolute start and they’ve kept me grounded.

“They’ve never once said you can’t do this, they’ve always pushed me forward.

“We’ve done so much in the history of the country and I take that into every swim I do. To represent the Queen, to represent the country and the people at home is an absolute honour for me.

“London meant so much to me and it really inspired me. So hopefully for the children and teenagers back home just push every day and don’t give up.”

Adam Peaty

But while Peaty’s pre-race calmness, untouchable speed in the pool and composure on the medal rostrum afterwards seemingly belied the fact that the 21-year-old was competing at his very first Games – it was all part of the master plan for one woman deep in the Rio Olympic Aquatics Centre.

"I absolutely knew he was capable of that but we just had to keep it a secret," said Mel Marshall, a coach at the City of Derby and most significantly, mentor to Peaty.

"I know what it's like on the other side if it doesn't go well so there was an element of being cautious but in my gut, I knew what he could do. I fully trusted in him and I fully believed in him, He was supposed to win this, it was destiny.

"My final words to him were use your speed with a great stroke, use your courage with a great stroke and go and make some history," said Marshall, who added that the next target would be breaking the 57 second barrier.

"He's always the last man standing no matter what it is. It's a testament to his hard work that he's here. He will always listen and that's one of the good things about him. I feel like we're the perfect partnership and that's a special and a rare thing. I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life."

Neither will most of Great Britain.

Sportsbeat 2016