Tokyo 2020 Olympic Swimming Previews: Peaty & An Ocean of 58’s In M 100 Breast

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  • World Record: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 56.88 (2019)
  • Olympic Record: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 57.13 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 59.01 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 57.13

When you own the 16 fastest performances ever in an event, it’s your crown to lose. Such is the case with Great Britain’s Adam Peaty in this men’s 100m breaststroke.

Arguably the most successful men’s 100m breaststroke ever, owning the World Record, Olympic Record and beating his fellow man by at least a second nearly every race, Peaty enters Tokyo as the favorite for his pet event.

He has been the world’s top performer every year since Rio, although things have changed in 5 years’ time for 26-year-old Peaty of Loughborough.

On a personal level, the man is now a father, with his son George having been born last September.

Things are different in the pool, too, as we’ve now seen another man enter the sub-58 second territory in this 100m breast event.

Although Peaty is still untouchable with a PB of 56.88, Dutchman Arno Kamminga has made his mark in spades over the past couple of years, culminating in a monster result of 57.90 this past May. That rendered the 24-year-old as the #2 performer all-time, the only other man besides Peaty to get under 58 seconds and the front runner to chase down the Brit just over 10 days from now.

Kamminga is making his Olympic debut with his appearance in Tokyo. After missing the 1breast final at the 2019 FINA World Championships, the man came back to snag double gold at the 2019 European Short Course Championships in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events.

This year the 25-year-old posted a mark of 58.10 to finish with the silver behind Peaty’s 57.66 at the European Long Course Championships. Sitting within half a second of the dominant Peaty is an accomplishment in itself.

The World Junior Record holder in this event, Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy, has also made some moves in recent months, most notably hitting a time of 58.29 at the Sette Colli in June. That inches him closer to the 58-second barrier, which is where the minor medal winners in Tokyo very well may end up.

Joining him in that territory is American Michael Andrew who busted out a new national record at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Crushing a lifetime best of 58.14, Andrew enters the Olympics ranked #3 in the world and the top American in this fast and furious event.

Andrew has a habit of swimming his fastest times in earlier rounds, however. His national record came in the semi-final of Olympic Trials before he elevated to 58.73 in the final.

There is a list of an additional seven men who carry sub-59 second times into Tokyo from this season, including fellow Americans Nic Fink and Andrew Wilson, Belarusian Ilya Shymanovich and Russian Anton Chupkov.

Shymanovich owns the World Record in the short course version of this event, having registered a mighty 55.34 just last December in his native country. Chupkov is the reigning long course 200m breaststroke record holder.

Although not in the top 5 in the current rankings, China’s Yan Zibei has come on strong in recent years in this 1breast event. The Asian record holder has been 58-point in each of the last 4 years, including when he took World Championships bronze in 2019 in 58.63.

Between Peaty and Zibei there in Gwangju was Peaty’s teammate James Wilby. Wilby ranks 7th in 58.58 in the season’s world rankings but has been as fast as 58.46 in his career.

With all of these variables being kicked around, what we at least do know is that the podium will absolutely look different in Tokyo than it did in Rio, as two of the three medalists will not be racing this time around. The silver medalist from 5 years ago, Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, retired, while bronze medalist Cody Miller of the United States missed his nation’s roster.

Even the 4th place finisher won’t be among the field in Tokyo, as Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki missed qualification in this event.

As such, the field behind Peaty is essentially an ocean of 58’s, save Kamminga’s 57.90 PB, which means it’s anyone’s race to take the silver and bronze in this men’s 100m breast.

SwimSwam’s Picks:

Place Swimmer Country Best Time Since the 2016 Olympics
1 Adam Peaty GBR 56.88 – 2019
2 Arno Kamminga NED 57.90 – 2021
3 Nicolo Martinenghi ITA 58.29 – 2021
4 Michael Andrew USA 58.14 – 2021
5 Yan Zibei CHN 58.63 – 2019
6 Ilya Shymanovich BLR 58.29 – 2019
7 James Wilby GBR 58.46 – 2019
8 Anton Chupkov RUS 58.83 – 2020


Japan’s Shoma Sato is currently ranked #2 in the world in the 200m breaststroke but the 19-year-old has been progressing nicely in this 100m sprint as well. Although he missed the official Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated Olympic qualifying time in this event at Trials where he posted 59.18, Sato is able to add this event to his lineup by way of qualifying in the 200m. Yes, the man hasn’t been under 59 seconds to date. However, with his rapid time drops in the 200m paired with the fact this is a home-based Games, Sato may indeed throw down something special when it counts to get his nation on the board in this event.Dark Horse:

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1 year ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a sub 58 to reach the podium

Lex Soft
1 year ago

Michael Andrew should do his own strategy such that he can start away from the center lane. Adam Peatty will be busy monitoring Anno Karminga and Nicolo Martinenghi next to him. Meanwhile, Andrew will be swimming against his own pace but Peatty cannot monitor, and upsetting the Lion, touching the wall first with 57.70, Peatty 2nd with 57.72, Karminga 3rd with 58.05.

Reply to  Lex Soft
1 year ago

Pure fantasy thinking Peaty will be that slow.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Like I said, MA will go under Peatty’s radar, if he takes my advice. 🙂 If not, the Lion will catch him. For me, it is still interesting to see what MA will do, regardless of the end result.

1 year ago

Is there an index of the Olympic previews at all? Hard to navigate to find them it seems.

Lex Soft
Reply to  Stirlo
1 year ago
1 year ago

Hoping for one german in the final. I actually think that Matzerath might have a better chance than Schwingenschlögl, despite having a slower entry time. Peaty, Martinenghi, Andrew and Kamminga should comfortably make the final. I think the other 4 in the final will be Shymanovich, Wilby, Wilson and one out of Prigoda/Schwingenschlögl/Matzerath/Sato/Yan/Chupkov/Sakci.

1 year ago

One that’s somewhat easier than most when it comes to top 2; 1.Peaty 2. Kamminga

Bronze looks fairly open; I could easily be wrong but I’m leaning to Martineghi

Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

There is no Gold medal engraved just yet.
However, I’m sticking my neck out here & I’m going to call it Peaty for gold. There crucify me if I’m wrong, I’m big enough to handle.

Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

Completely agree that no one’s name has yet been engraved on any medals.

Would it be safe to say that this one, however, fits into the category of “barring unforeseen illness/injury or official interference” ?

1 year ago

Hopefully 8-10 people are DQ’d in prelims due to their dolphin-kicking – Shymanovich, Zibei, Martinenghi, Wilby are just a few to be named. Definitely not going to happen, but wishful thinking 😞

Reply to  wow
1 year ago

Lol, dude that would clear out like the majority of the expected finalists.

Reply to  wow
1 year ago

I’ll take Martinenghi’s pullout over Scozzoli’s ANY day.

Reply to  wow
1 year ago

Dolphinovich is the most blatant.

Reply to  wow
1 year ago

I wish that happened a fw years aago, not sure the olympics is the place to start!

1 year ago

I strongly believe MA is going under 58 to take silver or bronze

Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

He’ll medal in the 200 IM. I have him 5th in this one.

Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

agree except for the silver or bronze.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Times don’t matter at olympic games.
Who cares what time MP did to win the 200 fly in Rio?
Winning medals and if possible in gold matters.
Records are icing on the cake.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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