Without a doubt Adam Peaty is one of the most impressive swimmers of our time. During the past four years he lifted breaststroke swimming up on a new level. One of his most remarkable swims: The 50m semi-final of the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, where he broke the 26-second-barriere for the first time in swimming history. Let’s take a look at how he did that.

Already during heats in the Hungarian capitol the 23-year-old Brit put up a new World Record: 26.10 seconds. But in the semifinals Peaty went out to write swimming history.

In the afternoon, he got a much better start compared to his performance during heats. Already at the 15m mark he had won a tenth of a second, as shown by an analysis of the sports scientists from the Institute for Applied Training Sciences (IAT) in Leipzig, Germany.

Nevertheless, the starting phase remains the weakness of the superstar. During the first meters his competitors sometimes have an advantage of several tenths of a second. The Russian Kirill Prigoda, for example, was a whopping 0.48 seconds faster during the first 15m at the semifinals in Budapest. But due to his incredible ability to keep a high speed throughout the race Peaty can still dominate the field as he pleases.

During the second half of the semifinal-race the superstar did virtually drop no speed at all, while his competitors had to fight more and more, in order to avoid the loss of too much speed. Peaty has been working hard on that key factor for the past years, as we can see, when we take a look at his previous world record from 2015.

Peatys stroke frequency is nearly identical to his world record race at the world championships 2015. But he can still hold a higher speed, which means with each stroke he can bring simply more power to the water than two years before. Already during heats in 2017 he won 0.4 seconds only on the second half of the race. The cherry on top in the semifinals was the better start compared to the heats. Altogether this made him nearly half a second faster than two years before.

Now Peaty is back at the international stage. On Sunday and Monday he’ll tackle the record again at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. It’s unbelievable, but knowing, that even he has a weak point, his start, it seems more than likely that 25.95 seconds won’t be his last word in the 50m breaststroke.

The race stats:

  Adam Peaty
world record 2017
Adam Peaty
world record 2017
Adam Peaty
world record 2015
Kirill Prigoda
Semi-Final WC 2017
5m 0:01,32 0:01,38 0:01,32 0:01,26
15m 0:06,28 0:06,38 0:06,34 0:05,80
25m 0:11,82 0:11,98 0:11,90 0:11,90
25-50m 0:14,13 0:14,12 0:14,52 0:14,95
50m 0:25,95 0:26,10 0:26,42 0:26,85
speed (m/s)        
5 - 15m 2,02 2,00 1,99 2,20
15 - 25m 1,81 1,79 1,80 1,64
25 - 35m 1,75 1,74 1,68 1,63
35 - 45m 1,72 1,75 1,68  1,62
stroke rate
15 - 25m 69 68 70 54
35 - 45m 66 65 66  59

Data source: Institute for Applied Training Sciences (IAT) Leipzig

Picture by: Alibek Käsler