Fina World Championships 2017

Project 25 done and dusted for peaty

Britain’s Adam Peaty clocking a new world record time of 26.10sec in the men’s 50m breast heats at the World Championships. He broke it again, recording 25.95sec in the semi-finals.
Britain’s Adam Peaty clocking a new world record time of 26.10sec in the men’s 50m breast heats at the World Championships. He broke it again, recording 25.95sec in the semi-finals. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
National swimmer Quah Zheng Wen finishing 18th overall in the 200m fly heats.
National swimmer Quah Zheng Wen finishing 18th overall in the 200m fly heats. PHOTO: SIMONE CASTROVILLARI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Olympic champ goes sub-26 after smashing own world record in the 50m breaststroke

Project 56, the name Adam Peaty coined for his bid to become the first swimmer to post a sub-57 second time in the 100m breaststroke, is still a work in progress.

But Project 25 is completed as the Briton shattered his own world record in the 50m breast yesterday, lowering it from 26.42 seconds to 26.10 in the heats, then 25.95 in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Budapest.

But while breaking the world record by such a margin would have left most swimmers thrilled, the 22-year-old, who owns nine of the top 10 fastest swims in the 50m breast, is unlike most.

Instead, he appeared nonplussed and said after the morning heats: "Honestly, I wasn't going out there this morning for a world record.

"It's 10 o'clock and I'm very happy with that swim. That world record is two years old (he set it en route to victory at the 2015 world championships in Kazan), so it's due another push on."

He added: "That didn't really feel like my best race, so move it on tonight, pick up a few hundredths or tenths and we'll be very happy."

He managed even better than that in the semi-finals and will head into tonight's final as the overwhelming favourite.

The Olympic 100m breast champion had claimed his second straight world title in the event on Monday but could only clock 57.47, short of his 57.13 world record.

His main rival looks to be South African Cameron van der Burgh, a former world record holder in the 50m breast. The 29-year-old notched a personal best of 26.54 in the heats and said it was premature to hand Peaty the gold medal.

"World records in heats don't win finals," he said. "Now we know what he is capable of, we can go back and plan on going forward."

It was a day to forget, however, for Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen as he missed out on a semi-final spot for the second day in a row.

He clocked 1min 56.76sec in heat three of the 200m butterfly and stood in the mixed zone to watch the final two heats on the TV screens, hoping his swim was among the top 16 times required to advance.

However, the 20-year-old finished 18th overall, 0.05 behind the final qualifier, Leonardo de Deus of Brazil (1:56.71). On Monday, he had also finished 18th in the 100m backstroke heats.

Coming so close again was disappointing, he said. "I was expecting to do well and my target was to make top 16 from the heats.

"There is nothing more I can do but to forget about what has happened. I still have three events (50m, 200m back and 100m fly). I am sure I will learn from this and will get better in the next few days."

Entering his final lap in the heat, he had taken a glance underwater to see where his rivals were and felt confident that he was on track to finish third. He finished fifth.

"I don't think it did cost me (a qualifying spot)," he said.

"In terms of execution of the race, it was how I wanted it to be. My splits were good but I just didn't get it right at the end. I wasn't saving myself, felt strong for the whole race. It wasn't a conscious effort to slow down or anything."

Joseph Schooling will be competing in the 100m freestyle today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'Project 25 done and dusted for peaty'. Print Edition | Subscribe