2019 World Champs Previews: Peaty’s Project 56 Highlights Men’s 100 Breast


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Men’s 100m Breaststroke

One of the easiest events to call at the 2019 World Championships, the 100 breaststroke features Great Britain’s Adam Peatyone of the most dominant swimmers of all-time.

Peaty enters the meet seeded a full 1.1 seconds ahead of anyone else in the field. He’s also 1.1 seconds faster than anyone else in history. Peaty holds the 14 fastest swims in history in this event, along with 20 of the top 25 swims. But there’s still drama here. That’s because Peaty is aiming to become not only the first man under 58 seconds, but the first ever under 57.

Peaty has been publicly proclaiming his goal, with the slogan “Project 56.” He very nearly had it at the European Championships last year before some chaos. Peaty finished in exactly 57.00 for gold – but that time was later updated based on a timing system error. All swims from that session were moved back a tenth, so Peaty’s world record sits at 57.10. In a lot of ways, it’s a good thing he didn’t go any faster last summer. Having the first 56-second swim be later nullified would make this an odd record. Now, Peaty gets to seek 56 for the very first time – but we’re guessing he might have to hold his breath for a bit to make sure no more time gets added back on.

Peaty has broken this record four times since 2015. He went 57.92 in 2015, 57.55 and 57.13 at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and then 57.10 last summer.

Even second place is starting to distinguish himself from the field. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus is the #2 swimmer in world history after a 58.29 back in March. With former world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh retiring, Shymanovich looks like the man to beat for silver. He’s four tenths ahead of anyone else on the start lists.

Still, Shymanovich has to prove himself in the spotlight. The 24-year-old doesn’t have any major international medals in long course. He didn’t even make the World Champs final in 2017, sitting 13th out of heats and taking 16th in the semifinals. Still, he’s got elite speed and seems to be peaking at the right time to make a run this summer.

The Brits have a shot at a 1-2 finish if Shymanovich falters. Last summer, Peaty and James Wilby went 1-2 at the European Championships, and no one with within four tenths of Wilby for silver. That same duo went 1-2 at Commonwealth Games, even besting van der Burgh. The 25-year-old Wilby has come on strong, and Euros silver in both the 100 and 200 breast last year plus Commonwealths gold in the 200 have made him one of the foremost international threats.

From there, the crowd gets pretty thick with 59-low types, though two men have been sub-59:

Yan Zibei of China has been on a tear. At 23, he’s one of the younger swimmers in a pretty veteran field at the top. Yan was 58.9 at Chinese Nationals in the spring, then traveled to the U.S. to smash his own national record and the U.S. Open record in 58.74 in June.

Meanwhile Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was the Asian Games and Pan Pacs champ last year and is a pretty highly-decorated swimmer. He was the 2017 Worlds silver medalist in the 200 breast. He hit 58.78 last summer, and went 58.8 at Asian Games. Koseki was also under 59 at the Rio Olympics, where he took 6th.

The floodgates are open for the last few spots in the A final. Russia has a pair of standouts. Anton Chupkov is more known for the 200 breast, where he won at Worlds last time around, but he’s gotten his speed up to a 59.0 breaststroke. Kirill Prigoda is more of the short-distance speedster of the Russian breaststrokers, and he’s been 59.0 as well.

Italy has it’s own duo, an old-and-young pairing. Fabio Scozzoli is 30, but swam a lifetime-best 59.0 earlier this year. He’s the top entrant for Italy, but young Nicolo Martinenghi seems to be just finding his feet again after missing much of last year with injury. Martinenghi, 19, is the world junior record-holder, and went 59.0 as a teenager back in 2017, pre-injury. He’s been 59.3 this year and looks to be getting back to form.

Both Americans from the 2016 Olympic final and 2017 World Champs final (Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller) are absent after missing the top U.S. travel team last summer. Young Michael Andrew was the national champ last summer at 59.38, and is rising fast. He’ll have a pretty busy Worlds lineup, though, and the 100 breast does come in a session with the 50 fly, where he’s also entered. The other American is Andrew Wilsonwho was a blistering 59.1 mid-season, but needs to prove he can be at his best in the Worlds final. Wilson hasn’t yet broken a minute this season, but with no real need to rest in-season, there’s no reason to worry about him at this point.

A few others to keep an eye on:

  • 23-year-old Arno Kamminga is a Dutch speedster who went 59.1 at the Sette Colli meet last summer, but hasn’t been under 59.4 otherwise.
  • Brazil’s Joao Gomes Junior has been 59.0 back in 2016, but gone backwards since, going 59.2 at Worlds in 2017 and 59.6 at Pan Pacs last summer.

Top 8 Picks


Place Swimmer Country Season-Best Lifetime-Best
1 Adam Peaty Great Britain 57.87 57.10
2 Ilya Shymanovich Belarus 58.29 58.29
3 James Wilby Great Britain 58.66 58.54
4 Yan Zibei China 58.74 58.74
5 Yasuhiro Koseki Japan 59.12 58.78
6 Kirill Prigoda Russia 59.50 59.05
7 Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 59.30 59.01
8 Anton Chupkov Russia 59.21 59.06

Dark horse: Tobias Bjerg of Denmark is an exciting upstart. The 21-year-old smashed a Danish record this spring with a 59.17 in the 100 breast. Bjerg’s lifetime-best was just 1:01.19 heading into that meet. He was 59.4 and 59.1 in April and 59.5 a week later, proving his big swim wasn’t a total fluke. If that improvement curve keeps up, Bjerg has a great chance to challenge the 58-second types in this field, though he might still be a year or two away from medal contention.

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3 years ago

I’ve never really seen anyone talk about this but what on earth happened to Cordes. Drops a 58.6 then can’t break minute the next year

Reply to  50free
3 years ago

Ive been thinking the same thing, thought he would be our primary breastroker for the future back then

3 years ago

I’m tipping Peaty.

Definitely Not Sun Yang
3 years ago

Very good list. Top 3 have really established themselves. 4-8 are more tentative, but will all probably make the finals

3 years ago

Still 8 more events for SwimSwam to preview…

3 years ago

damn no americans projected to be top 8? Andrew Wilson feels like a dark horse medalist to me

Reply to  Bayliss
3 years ago

Really struggle to see US male breaststroke medals this year. Prenot best shot in the 200.

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

Prenot is definitely a strong medal contender. Not sure about anybody else.

Reply to  brian
3 years ago

He is; Only problem is there are about 8 strong contenders in the race haha.

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

OK i think it’s an outside shot, but still a chance nonetheless that he pops off for something big this year.

I’m guessing the USA’s relative weakness has to do with training in a bath-tub. The strongest swimmers are doing pull-down’s to 15m off every wall then 3-4 strokes before turning.

Reply to  Bayliss
3 years ago

What’s really disturbing is the strong possibility of the American losing the Medley Relay at the Olympics next Summer. I don’t see have our splits will put us in the running if we don’t get a 100 breast in low 58s….

Reply to  flurpy
3 years ago

The 2 second lose in breast is mitigated in the 2 second win in back. At least .5 gain in fly and even (at best for uk) on free! #gold

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Socaladvracer
3 years ago

Ain’t going to be even on free when Dean swims it.

3 years ago

Peaty goes ballistic and drops a 56 mid.

Both US breastrokers refuse to race him again due to the trauma and the US has to use Dressel on the breastroke leg of the medley relay, GB wins that on the back of a 56 low from Peaty, who Dressel admits has better tats.

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

agree on everything except the tattoo statement and not mentioning that dressel splits a 55.9 to take revenge

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

Wait, I thought Dressel was going to beat Peaty. At least that’s what I heard a while back.

Good but not Great
3 years ago

I’m not sold on Shymanovich. The dude showed up to one meet, went 58.7 then the became the second fastest man ever at 58.2 (his previous pb was 59.4), and hasn’t swum a 100 since I think. While it’s possible he could show up and join peaty at sub 58, I think it’s also possible he doesn’t even break 59. The 58.2 could be a fluke is all I’m saying

Reply to  Good but not Great
3 years ago

He went 58mid twice and Belarusian Championships – Four swims under 58.8 this season. Also went 59.4 at Mare Nostrum a month ago. He also went 26.5 under the radar in April, which nobody seems to have picked up on. People are majorly sleeping on him. I expect a NR at around 58.0 for silver.

Good but not Great
Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

Hum, I missed that result.In that case I don’t think his floor is over 59. Still not sure about a repeat of the 58.2 though…

3 years ago

1. Adam Peaty 56.86 WR *I think he’ll dip under 57 here, but next year in Tokyo he is going to do something REALLY special, the time I have in mind is very fast…
2. James Wilby 58.48
3. Ilya Shymanovich 58.70 *I do not see him matching his 58.2 THIS YEAR, but next year.
4. Anton Chupkov 58.88 *His speed has been improving, although he still swims the 200 his usual way (which works for him)
5. Fabio Scozzoli 59.00
6. Yan Zibei 59.12
7. Kirill Prigoda 59.20
8. Felipa Lima 59.44

I think this is going to be a very fast final, but I feel the semi’s will even be faster. Possibly 59.1-59.2 just to final.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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