Commonwealth Games: Adam Peaty wins first 50m Commonwealth title

Host: Birmingham Events: July 28th to August 8th
Cover: Watch live on BBC TV with additional streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; Live text and clips online.

Adam Peaty says he has his “spark” back after winning what he says is his first Commonwealth title in the 50m breaststroke in his final race at the Games.

After missing out on a 100m medal on Sunday as he recovered from a broken foot, the England swimmer had said he was “not worried” about adding the shorter title to his collection.

That didn’t appear to be the case as he hit the water in celebration.

“I had two choices this morning – fight or not fight,” he said.

“Anyone who knows me knows I fight.”

Peaty certainly looked ready for a fight as he entered the Sandwell Aquatics Center and slapped his chest twice before raising his hand to acknowledge the chilling noise of the crowd.

The 27-year-old was hopping up and down behind his pad before the shouts of “Come on Peaty” finally died down and there was silence.

After the first contact in 26.76 seconds, Peaty only nodded his head subtly at first.

Before the final he had said: “You corner a lion, it will bite”. He looked like the king of the pool as his celebrations came to life and he climbed onto the cable car to roar at the crowd.

In the end it was a pretty comfortable win too. Australia’s silver medalist Sam Williamson was 0.21s behind, while Scotsman Ross Murdoch – who secretly retired in December before returning to swimming – took bronze in 27.32s.

Peaty said after his 100m that he’s lost his spark over the past two years and needs a long break before turning to a third Olympic title at the 2024 games.

The crowd’s reaction to his victory could help him fall in love with the sport again, and he returned the applause by throwing his cap and glasses in the stands.

“It means so much to me because I’ve been through the past five years,” Peaty said.

“I lost my spark earlier in the week and now I have it back. A lot of people have to understand that I hit rock bottom yesterday and pick myself up with the crowd in my own head and that’s the result.”

Later, as he accepted his medal on the podium and took in the admiration of the Sandwell crowd, the sparkle had returned to his eyes and the smile to his face.

Peaty said he could “retire now” after completing his Commonwealth title collection, but added he was “looking forward to the reset” and training over the winter.

“I’m so glad I suffered that loss earlier in the week because those wins feel so much more alive and so much better,” he concluded.

Williams wins gold in backstroke

Peaty’s wasn’t England’s first gold in the penultimate night of swimming in Birmingham – as before, Brodie Williams overtook compatriot Luke Greenbank in the final length of the 200m backstroke to clinch the title.

Greenbank had his head in his hands as Williams celebrated, but the pair then hugged as the home crowd cheered.

Laura Stephens brought more joy to the hosts with silver in the 200m butterfly in the next race and James Guy continued the medal rush for England with shared silver in a thrilling 100m butterfly final.

Teenage Josh Liendo – the first black Canadian swimmer to win world short course gold in 2021 – took gold in 51.24 seconds ahead of 200m bronze medalist Guy and Australia’s Matthew Temple, with South Africa’s Chad le Clos fourth.

England’s James Hollis won bronze in the S10 100m butterfly, in which Australia’s Col Pearse won gold, and the hosts ended the night with bronze in the 4x100m mixed medley.

Australia’s Bradley Woodward took silver in the men’s 200m backstroke and South Africa’s Pieter Coetze took bronze.

The women’s 200m butterfly was won by Australia’s Elizabeth Dekkers in two minutes and 7.26 seconds – 0.64 seconds ahead of Stephens – and her compatriot Brianna Throssell took bronze.

Ben Proud – 50m butterfly champion – qualified fastest for the men’s 50m freestyle final in 21.63 seconds, with Lewis Burras also qualifying.

Medi Harris of Wales, Danielle Hill of Northern Ireland and Lauren Cox of England reached the 50m backstroke final.

In the 100m freestyle, Emma McKeon became the joint most decorated Commonwealth athlete of all-time alongside South Africa’s Le Clos as bronze took their medal tally to 18.

Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan won this race and Shayna Jack took silver.

Lara van Niekerk claimed a commanding victory in the women’s 100m breaststroke, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker took silver and Australia’s Chelsea Hodges bronze.

Australia had time for three more gold medals before the night was over.

Jasmine Greenwood won the SM10 200m individual medley and won all three medals in a swimming event for the fifth time at the Games.

Ariarne Titmus broke the Commonwealth Games record of eight minutes and 18.11 seconds in the 800m freestyle to win in 8:13.59, with fellow Australians Kiah Melverton and Lani Pallister second and third respectively.

They then continued their dominance in the relays, where they won all six possible gold medals by winning the 4x100m mixed medley.

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