Croatia's Damir Martin competes in the Men's Single Sculls Repechage 1 during the 2018 European Championships at the Strathclyde Country Park, near Glasgow, Scotland, Friday Aug. 3, 2018. (Ian Rutherford/PA via AP)

Forgetting About World Record Brings Peaty Closer To It

August 03, 2018 - 6:22 am

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Not thinking anymore about his world record in the 100-meter breaststroke is bringing Adam Peaty closer to beating it again.

The Olympic champion started his quest for a ninth European long-course title on Friday by setting a new championship record, bouncing back from a disappointing showing at the Commonwealth Games four months ago.

Peaty won his heat in 57.89 seconds, his seventh fastest time as he remained the only swimmer to beat the 58-second mark, and booked his place in the European Championships semifinals later Friday.

The Briton's time was still more than seven-tenths short of his own best mark of 57.13, but he said that was not on his mind anymore.

"I'm not talking about 56 (finishing under 57 seconds), I'm not talking about world records, I am just enjoying it and going back to the process, back to that process with enjoying it," Peaty said. "I have found that these past couple of months, and that could mean something special, but I am not going out to break anything."

In April, Peaty did win the discipline at the Commonwealth Games in a, for his standards, below-par 58.84 while his four-year unbeaten run in the 50 breaststroke was ended by South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh.

The rare defeat on the Gold Coast left him contemplative.

No wonder he is seeking redemption at the European Championships, and a confirmation that he is still ahead of the competition with the Tokyo Olympics two years away.

"I have always got that thing on my shoulder, that shroud of doubt in people's minds," he said. "I want to replace that doubt with confidence and this is what I was born to do, I was born to race and in my arena, in a home arena, that is really where I come to life."

Peaty certainly came to life at Tollcross, the same venue where he won silver at the 50 breaststroke for his first Commonwealth Games medal four years ago.

"Mel (Marshall, his long-term coach) said to me, 'make a statement in the morning, don't invest too much emotionally, enjoy it.' I am feeling good, in very good shape, so who knows what can happen."

Commonwealth Games runner-up James Wilby joined Peaty in the semifinals at the expense of Ross Murdoch, who trailed Wilby by just 0.02 in their heat but still missed out as competition rules allow only two competitors from the same nation to advance.

In other events, Croatian rower Damir Martin failed to qualify for the semifinals in the men's single sculls. The Olympic silver medalist, who won the European title in 2016 and added silver last year, finished his race only in fourth, more than seven seconds behind winner Marko Marjanovic of Serbia.

The Belgium gymnastics squad pulled out of the team final despite qualifying in third place, citing its focus on the world championships in Doha in October, which is the first qualifying opportunity for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"We start our preparations for the world championships next week and we don't want to risk anything," Belgium head coach Marjorie Heuls said.

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