20 at 20: Adam Peaty Cracks 58 Seconds

It’s the race also known as the world record we all watched on Nick Hope’s phone. There was no TV coverage or streaming available for the 2015 World Championship Trials held at the London Aquatic Centre so unless you were there on that momentous Friday night there was no way to watch as Adam Peaty sent shockwaves through breaststroke swimming other than the feed coming from the BBC correspondent’s Periscope channel.

We already knew that Peaty was a phenomenal talent based on his 2014 exploits which included a Commonwealth 100m title and a 50 and 100m double at the European Championships with a 50m world record thrown in for good measure. Some might even have thought that he might break the world record which had stood at 58.46 since the 2012 Olympics, but few would have predicted what actually happened.

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Swimming fittingly in the same lane as Cameron van der Burgh was in to win 2012 Olympic gold and set the previous record, Peaty was out fast and held on magnificently down the second 50 to become the first man under 58s for the event, slicing 0.54s from the record

As well as his world record of 56.88, Peaty has swum under 58 seconds a further 11 times since 2015 (a feat that still remains beyond any other swimmer) and 57.92 might therefore seem a little pedestrian now, but at the time it was seismic, possibly the best swim ever on British soil.  Peaty was certainly floored by seeing 57 on the board, recalling the following day “I couldn’t celebrate properly because I didn’t think it was real”.

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Eventually footage of the race emerged, including a view seemingly from the sports science gantry that was dubbed with the BBC 5Live commentary, allowing more people to witness the moment we found out just how special Adam Peaty was.

You can hear the description of the race in his own words, including a full race replay, in the video at the top of this article and in the podcast below.