By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 2, 2022—In front of his hometown crowd, redemption was sweet for world record holder Adam Peaty at the XXII Commonwealth Games Tuesday at Sandwell Aquatic Center.
After finishing an unexpected fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke, the 27-year-old Brit came back to win his first Commonwealth career gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke in a season-best 26.76 and fifth Commonwealth gold of his career. He won silver in the event in 2014 and 2018.
The media was harsh after Peaty suffered his first defeat in his specialty event in his eight-year career. Peaty took time off after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. suffered a broken foot in the gym in May, did not compete at worlds in June and is still not 100 percent. His cast was removed only a month ago.
“I just reverted to who I am,” Peaty said. “Mel [Marshall, his coach] said to me ‘today you wake up and play,’ but I said, ‘No, today I fight.’ And I gave literally absolutely everything in my race. I don’t care about the time. I don’t care about the result. I just care about enjoying that crowd and winning.
“It’s been a tough Games, a very hard Games. I came from literally the lowest point two days ago, and I just said ‘you know what, I am a fighter, I am not going to let just anyone take this and walk it.’ I had to work hard for it. I struggled, to be honest, really, really struggled.”
In other finals:
South African Lara van Niekerk knocked off countrywoman and defending champion Tatjana Schoenmaker in the 100-meter breaststroke to win in 1:05.47. Schoenmaker took silver in 1:06.68 and Aussie Chelsea Hodges won bronze in 1:07.05.
Brit Brodie Williams won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:56.40, just 1/100ths ahead of Aussie Bradley Woodward in 1:56.41 and South African Pieter Coetze in 1:56.77.
Aussie teenager Elizabeth Dekkers, 18, won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.26 followed by Brit Laura Stephens in 2:07.90 and Aussie Brianna Throssell in 2:08.32.
Aussie reigning champion Mollie O’Callaghan came from behind against an impressive field to win in 52.63 followed by Shayna Jack of Australia in 52.88 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 52.94.
Canadian Josh Liendo won the 100-meter butterfly in 51.24. James Guy of England and Matt Temple of Australia tied for second in 51.40. South African Chad le Clos was fourth in 51.61.
Aussie defending champion Ariarne Titmus broke her own Games record in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:13.59. It was an Aussie sweep with Kiah Melverton in 8:16.79 and Lani Pallister in 8:19.16
The Aussies continued to dominate the relays winning the mixed 4×100-meter medley in 3:41.30 followed by Canada (3:43.98) and England (3:44.03). The winning foursome was Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matt Temple and Emma McKeon.
Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago has another shot at a medal on Wednesday, the final day of the Games. The Plantation American Heritage alum was the fifth fastest qualifier after the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle in 22.35. Two-time defending champion Ben Proud of England was top qualifier in 21.63.
The meet concludes Wednesday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org