Eurosport

Drew Gordon: What makes British icon Adam Peaty so successful, and how he can evolve

The secret behind Peaty's astonishing success - and where he can go next
By Eurosport

27/07/2017 at 10:14Updated 27/07/2017 at 11:52

Eurosport swimming expert and coach Drew Gordon answers the big questions about Olympic and World champion Adam Peaty. He feels Peaty's attitude to training means the British sporting great will only improve.

How good is Adam Peaty among the great British swimmers in history?

Only six British men have held world records in swimming so it is a small and exclusive club. Plus there are similarly just as few who have held a World Championship title.

Winning 50m and 100m is the first 'double' at the Worlds since Scotsman David Wilkie in 1975; that's a long time to wait for such a feat. He belongs right at the top when you consider the other greats of British sport.

Video - Adam Peaty: The amazing record of Britain's golden boy

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How impressive is his performance at these World Championships?

It is astonishing and difficult to comprehend what he has done to this event, and to witness how he is dealing with the challenges and pressures. For 50m, it is impressive that he has got all the details so right. And he is only 22.

"A small error at that distance and at that speed can be exaggerated to a flaw in the performance. 25.95sec is astonishing and probably 'perfect' for a long time to come. Having said that, the start and first 20m are where there may be some room for improvement. "

It must be exciting for him to know that he can go faster.

Adam Peaty of Britain reacts after winning the race.

Adam Peaty of Britain reacts after winning the race.Eurosport

Where does he go from here? Can he go faster?

He has stated that he wants to swim 200m. With his size, style of technique and facility at the sprints, that may be a big ask, but he relishes challenges and difficult problems to solve. So it might happen.

He admires Kosuke Kitajima's Olympic 'double double' after the Japanese great won 100m and 200m in two Olympics 2004 and 2008. That may be a goal he fancies.

How do you improve upon perfection you might ask? Well, if he can improve the start, where he gives distance away to others, he can go slightly faster on 50m.

Video - Adam Peaty claims double-double

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The 100m looks good for improvement because he has shown he can go the first split faster, and if he trains for the 200m, there will be a strong effect on the back end of the hundred.

Video - Watch Adam Peaty's stunning world-record swim

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However, it is always difficult and dangerous to try to 'guestimate' what is going on in any sport programme when you are not there regularly. Or have the detailed knowledge of the training approach.

I'm just offering an opinion: Adam and his coach will know what is best because they are putting in the hard work to be ready for these elite events.

Why is he so dominant? Technique? Fitness levels? Desire?

He has a coach in Melanie Marshall who has developed a very individualised training programme. He does amazing land work for strength, but keeps an eye on body shape and condition.

"He is driven to race and to attack every opportunity. He must have a very high tolerance for pain and suffering to be conditioned as he is. He appears to be a very effective 'self motivator' which can be rare, even in elite athletes."

Can he branch out to other events such as Michael Phelps?

Personally, I have never seen his other strokes, but I doubt it because he is so specialised. He probably does some in training just for variety.

Adam Peaty of Britain reacts after winning the race.

Adam Peaty of Britain reacts after winning the race.Eurosport

Is Peaty a result of investment in British swimming?

Swimming has always been quite well supported because it is number two in Olympic programme and it has delivered a lot over the years in terms of medals and a strong legacy to society.

How vital are continued funds for the sport?

Critical really especially as commercial sponsorship at the level required is out of the question.

Lottery and other major funding from UK Sport is vital to sustain present system of National Centres and regional development.

Drew Gordon

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