The fierce rivalry between Great Britain’s Adam Peaty and South Africa’s Cameron Van der Burgh continued to heat up in today’s 50m breaststroke prelims. After already having earned Worlds gold in the 100m breaststroke event, Peaty is looking to fed off a quite determined Van der Burgh to claim a second title at this meet.
In this morning’s heats of the men’s 50m breaststroke sprint, Van der Burgh, swam away with the top seed, as well as a new world record to set the stage for what it will take to ultimatley clinch the gold in the event. VDB’s time of 26.62 matches that of Peaty’s same mark set at the 2014 European Championships – a personal best time that has yet to be officially recognized as the world record in the event.
Even with VDB’s commanding statement swim putting the world on notice he is looking to defend his 2009 and 2013 world titles, Peaty has the confidence and self-belief to remain unshaken. As he told British Swimming, “I did get a good night’s sleep once I fell asleep eventually. This morning I just went out there and had fun – I didn’t really take it too seriously. Tonight I’m going to come back and go faster. It’ll be nice to get out there with my full game head on and focus on the race.”
Peaty will be in the middle of the pool in the first of two semi-finals today, flanked by American Kevin Cordes and Serbia’s Caba Siladi. Van der Burgh is the top swimmer in the second heat, so the South African will indeed have a chance to see Peaty perform before he dives into the pool to put forth his answer to Peaty’s performance.
With Peaty’s firm stance that “I know I’m fully capable of going faster than my PB”, look for the intense battle to come down to the final tomorrow, assuming all goes according to these two sprinters’ plans in semi’s.