Great Britain’s Adam Peaty captured both the gold medal and the championship record in the men’s 100 meters breaststroke final, before then returning to help his country win gold in the mixed 4×100 metres medley relay on Tuesday.
Peaty, roared on by the home crowd, shaved 0.32 off his championship record he had set in 2014 to clock a time of 58.36 seconds. Compatriot Ross Murdoch touched second in 59.72 to complete a British one-two, while Lithuania’s Geidrius Titenis came third in 1:00.10.
“There’s been amazing support in the Aquatics centre tonight and it’s definitely one of the best races I’ve had in that event, and to have Ross alongside me was just great,” Peaty told reporters. “Did the process and came out with a 58.3 and that puts me within the top four times in the world going Rio, so I’m in a good place.”
Titenis cemented his credentials as a top breaststroker by taking the lead in the initial stages, but triple world champion Peaty displayed his mettle by quickly regaining his form and turning first at halfway mark, barely half a second slower than the world record split.
In what has become a characteristic of Peaty’s world-beating performances, he easily surged clear of the field with a fast turn to extend his lead down the final 50 metres with every stroke and defend his title, Murdoch in tow.
Then, barely an hour later, Peaty was back as part of the British quartet for the mixed 4×100 metres medley relay which included Chris Walker-Hebborn, Siobhan Marie O’ Connor and Francesca Halsall, to add a second gold to his growing medal tally.
It was still anyone’s race after the backstroke leg, but with Peaty posting a time of 58.84 seconds, fast enough for silver behind himself in the individual event, Great Britain was left comfortably in first place for the remainder of the relay.
Italy’s anchor freestyler Federica Pellegrini refused to give up without a fight, however, and although she closed the host nation’s lead to under five metres, Pellegrini was unable to reel in Halsall and prevent the British adding the European crown to their world championship title from last year.
Italy ultimately finished 1.18 seconds behind Britain, while the Hungarian team won the fight for the last minor medal with a 3:49.50.
Hosszu Still On Track
The exploits of Hungarian swimming ace Katinka Hosszu were the other highlight on the second day of pool competition after she claimed the women’s 200 metres backstroke title to keep alive her hopes of winning five golds from five events.
Perhaps as a result of racing such a demanding schedule at the championships in London, Hosszu’s pace visibly slowed in the closing stages of the gruelling race, though her time of two minutes 7.01 seconds was still good enough for the win.
Ukraine’s Daryna Zevina was almost able to catch Hosszu, finishing in a time of 2:07.48, as Matea Samardzic of Croatia completed the podium some 2.23 seconds adrift.
“I wanted to swim 2:07 and I clocked this time,” Hosszu said. “I knew that Daryna is very fast on the last 50 metres so it turned into a very tough race at the end.”
Earlier, in the other eventful final of the evening, Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov won a surprise men’s 50 metre butterfly gold after touching the wall in a time of 22.92 seconds. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh and Britain’s Ben Proud finished second and third respectively.