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Adam Peaty still occasionally feels the broken foot that almost cost him a place at the Commonwealth Games, but he will not let it stop him in his quest for gold.
The triple Olympic champion allayed any fears that he might not be ready in Birmingham as he cruised through the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier in the 100m breaststroke.
It was in this race in Glasgow in 2014 that he truly arrived on the international scene, winning gold, and since then he has cemented his place as the greatest breaststroke swimmer of all time.
And having won his semi-final to underline his status as the favourite for Sunday’s final, Peaty promised to put on a show.
He said: “I'm really happy. That was my fourth swim this year. My front end feels rustier than it normally would in a Championship but I realise, it’s not about the times, it’s about enjoying the crowd and giving the crowd a show.
“There were a few times when my foot was still hurting, it still hurts a tiny bit now and then but most of my training has been on the bike and on land, so I’ve taken myself completely out of what I’m comfortable with, which is swimming and a little bit of gym.
“When you take the swimming away, you think ‘am I still going to be the best swimmer in the world?’ You’ve still got to earn that right to be the best swimmer in the world, it’s not just a given. So now I’m fighting my way back and maybe if that takes another year or two, Paris has always been the goal. This is the re-build now.”
Earlier in the night, it was Chesterfield’s Imogen Clark who was impressing in the breaststroke, claiming a brilliant silver that went straight to the top of her career achievements.
She said: “That's probably some of the best racing I've experienced in my life. I've just never been in an arena like this, it's an absolute honour just to be a part of that race tonight.
“It was my goal to get a medal there and probably one of the highlights of my career.
“I'm here to race, it's as simple as that. It’s about who can touch their hand on the wall the fastest and that was my mentality, to just go in and wear my heart on my sleeve.
“This is the best thing I think I've ever done in terms of everything, performance, the girls that I've managed to race, you've got some legends in the pool and the home crowd, it's properly up there with my best ever.”
There was disappointment for Luke Greenbank though, who finished fifth in the men’s 100m backstroke, with teammate Brodie Williams taking the silver medal.
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