To say Adam Peaty is in a league of his own is putting it lightly.
On Monday night in Budapest’s Duna Arena, he handily won gold in the 100-meter men’s breaststroke with more than a second between him and his closest competitor.
In a race that goes just under a minute, that’s an eternity.
This comes about a year after the 22-year-old Brit broke his own world record twice — yes, twice — en route to winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. But he didn’t have much to say about his big accomplishment. Instead, afterward, his eyes were glued to a TV, watching his teammate Benjamin Proud become a world champion himself in the 50-meter butterfly.
“He’s going to be over-the-moon with that,” said Peaty.
World titles are nothing new to Peaty. He’s so far ahead of the competition that every time he beats his own personal best he sets a new world record.
“You don’t want to keep breaking it every year,” he said.
“That’s exactly what I’ve been doing the last three years.”
So instead of setting a new world record, this year he’ll settle for just being the best.
“I’m still one and a half seconds ahead of the rest of the world,” he said.
“I’m very happy with that.”
He did show a bit of that over-the-moon excitement once – when he spoke about his friends back home texting him pictures of himself in the warm up room.
“They just got FINA TV,” he said.
Those supporters are how Peaty found the strength to continue training past Rio with a tenacity that has made it possible for him to remain so far ahead of the pack.
“I just love racing,” he said, “and I love doing it for my family and my mates back home.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the pack is trying to catch him.
“You know he’s going to go out fast, you know he’s going to be out there,” said American Kevin Cordes, who took silver Monday night.
The stats: Peaty 57.47, Cordes 58.79. That’s a difference of 1.32 seconds.
“He’s really taking Britain a step forward. It’s just made it easier for the next person to go up and win gold,” said Proud, who knows what he’s talking about because, well, he did just that.
“I find the great British flag very motivating,” Peaty said.
He’s hoping it will motivate him to more wins and, probably, more world records all the way to Tokyo 2020.