Adam Peaty powers to Paris 2024 with stunning GB title

Adam Peaty set his first world record in the London Aquatics Centre in 2015 – credit Morgan Harlow / Aquatics GB

Nick Hope
European Aquatics correspondent at the London Aquatics Centre

World record holder Adam Peaty remains on course to completed an unprecedented Olympic hattrick after an impressive victory on the opening night of the British trials in London.

The 29-year-old, who won the 100m breaststroke titles at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, has spent time out of the sport since the last Games after struggling with his mental health.

Peaty claimed victory at the London Aquatics Centre, the scene of his first world record in 2015, in 57.94 seconds, with European 200m champion James Wilby second and Archie Goodburn third.

“I’ve learned to appreciate the moments of greatness for myself,” he told European Aquatics.

“For me that was a great swim, executed really well, but the most promising thing for me is that I’m finding peace in the water now rather than anger, fighting it and trying to win like that.

“I’ve found a new version of myself and I’m liking it and I think that’s a version that can do really well at the Olympics.”

Adam Peaty credits faith to his improved mindset – credit Morgan Harlow / Aquatics GB

The quickest time in the world this year was the swimmer’s fastest in the event since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and marked a significant improvement on the 59.10 he swam in the World championships final in February, where he claimed bronze.

He now believes retaining his Olympic crown is possible, despite the challenge posed by China’s Qin Haiyang, who has emerged as a credible contender after a hattrick of breakthrough titles at last year’s Worlds in Japan.

“It was always the reality,” continued Peaty.

“People tried to write my story for me and saw me at the Worlds and were like ‘oh, he’s never going to win the Olympics or medal again.’

“No, that’s not the message I want to send the kids. We want to have that story of hope and of perseverance and I think I’m telling it.”

The top four from the women’s 200m freestyle final finished in combined times which ensured GB will send a 4x200m freestyle relay team to Paris 2024 – credit Morgan Harlow / Aquatics GB

Other British swimmers achieving consideration times for the Paris Olympics included 200m freestyle winner Freya Colbert and runner-up Abbie Wood, as well as the respective gold and silver medallists from the 200m butterfly final, Keanna Macinnes and Laura Stephens.

Tokyo Olympian Kieran Bird produced a personal best of three minutes 48.93 in the 400m freestyle final to claim gold, but was narrowly outside of the mark set by Paris 2024 selectors.

The 2024 Aquatics GB Swimming Championships also features para swimming events, with athletes bidding for consideration times for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Among the winners on the opening night of the competition were Sam Downie (men’s 400m freestyle), Grace Harvey (50m butterfly), Lyndon Longhorne (men’s 150m individual medley), Poppy Maskill (women’s 200m freestyle) and Harry Stewart (men’s 100m breaststroke).

Poppy Maskill is set to bid for a maiden Paralympic medal at Paris 2024 after an impressive performance from the S14 para swimmer in London – credit Morgan Harlow / Aquatics GB