Kings of Consistency: The Challenge Of Adam Peaty’s Punch & Daniel In His Den

Adam Peaty of Great Britain  by Patrick B. Kraemer
Adam Peaty of Great Britain by Patrick B. Kraemer

Rio 2016 – men’s breaststroke: There are no margins that grant genuine comfort for any in Olympic waters but Adam Peaty will surely be buoyed by a season in which he has yet to race fully rested yet counts the European crown in 58.36 after 58.41 at Bitain’s Olympic trials and two 58.74s on his score sheet in this season beyond a scorcher of a 57.92 world record. The pace of world progress: 2004 heading into Athens 2004 – 1 man under the minute; 2016 – 22 men. If the defending champion Cameron Van der Burgh, of South Africa, is back at world No 9 on 59.6 and yet to declare his hand as Peaty’s closest opponent on the clock and in racing in 2014 and 2015, then an even more stark ‘wait and see’ meets the eye in the 200m battle: defending champion Daniel Gyurta, of Hungary – 43rd in the world on 2:10.84, some way back from Josh Prenot and a leading 2:07.17

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Comments

aswimfan

Prenot has the momentum, Cordes may have more upside, and Koch has the experience.

Can’t decide who’s gonna win the 200 between these guys. Sorry Daniel, I hope you win a medal.

Attila Riez

It’s really sad to see that such great athletes like Daniel and Missy Franklin are facing probably the same challenges. And what a similarity. Both were champions in London by WR, champions in Barcelona and in Shanghai, then off the top in Kazan (individual Gold). I hope both great athletes can get back to the pinnacle soon. However, I believe that keeping the world’s bests at the very top requires the same level of talent from their coaches as well, that they may not have recently.

aswimfan

Attila,
Did Daniel have a change in coaching recently?

Attila Riez

aswimfan,
No. What is really interesting is that Boglarka Kapas joined the very same team, and just look at her current enthusiasm and fast growing self confidence. What we can see is the inverse with Daniel, who was not able to keep his certainty of being the best, and what I suggest is it may be beyond that very same team’s capabilities at that level.

Craig Lord

Attila. There is a fairly sizeable difference in the stories of Missy and Daniel: time at the top. Daniel took silver in 2004, missed the podium in 2008 and then his winning ways flourished on the way to 2012 gold. 2016 sees him attempt to be at the helm of world pace 12 years after his youthful breakthrough. Look at Michael Jamieson and many others down the years (particularly on breaststroke – though the stroke has delivered the older world champion in history among me, albeit a dash); things change, the same level of drive and ability to get through the work, to stick with it, wanes. The more remarkable thing would be for Daniel to win. His career peak was 2012, 2013 on the clock – 2:07.23, 2:07.28 – with 2:08.10 his best in textile since – from last year. To retain the crown, he must return to best-ever speed. Not impossible but a towering challenge for a 27-year-old. We’ll see what Michael P and Laszlo C and Ryan L come up with in Rio. My take is that age (and more importantly longevity of career and level of excellence) is not something to be negative about but it is significant, not just on the physical but on the mental side and in terms of pure will to continue to find a positive balance in self-punishment/perception of reward (whatever the driver may be in the individual). In their various ways, MP, LC and RL have taken time out, whether literally or by altering focus: that’s been an essential part of their still being there and challenging in Rio 2016. Whatever motivates them will be a key factor, too. Katinka H, for example, has built a unique profile this past Olympic cycle and has everything to prove; Daniel G has nothing to prove. That’s not to say he won’t excel, of course…

Attila Riez

Thank you Craig.
I am sorry, I am not an expert, just a happy layman, who is lucky enough to witness two renaissances of Hungarian Swimming, and feels really sorry for missing Daniel from the leadership. My personal opinion is that mental strength and explicit goal settings are way more important than age. Thanks to your great article on this one, I know that this is fully against the statistics, but just take a look at Katinka, Daniel’s same age. When she races, she jumps in without a single doubt that she is simply the world’s best (in medley). My point, or rather question is that, knowing the great deal of difference in between going for a minor medal (Boglarka on 800) and defending an Olympic title, whose responsibility is to ensure a professional mental and motivational training to the top athletes.

Craig Lord

No need to apologise, Attila. I agree that ‘handling it’ (including the perfectly reasonable ‘do I really want to do this’), as it were, is essential and more significant than age (up to a point 🙂 I think ‘certainty’ (and no-one should ever go into a race feeling they’ve won it, of course, recipe for disaster – I refer to ‘certainty’ in terms of the absolute belief that no stone has been left unturned and that you, the person on the blocks, can deliver what is a personal best, be the outcome gold, bronze or a PB in 10th place at the Olympics) is important and history has been stacked with that (the reasons for ‘certainty’ along a line of dark to light, of course). To your question, I’d say you are right: the coach/support staff have a big role to play in the mental and motivational. The swimmer must also work on it for themselves and embrace that as habit, simply a part of who they are. Therese Alshammar, for example.

Attila Riez

‘do I really want to do this’: That can also explain a lot, both for those who can answer that question honestly for themselves and for those who cannot. Laszlo Cseh dropped medley because he did not find fun in it any more. Or two other great examples: Darnyi finished his career on the top, and Egerszegi was just 22.

kevin roose

Sadly Australias best swimmer in this event Mathew Wilson a promising young lad 17 …was not selected despite winning the event, as he did not do the Olympic Qulaifying Time ..
37 swimmers have been selected for Rio 47 went to London ….
A insepid decision ………
Yet they picked Joshua Palmer in the team as relay back up for Packard, but he in the 100 breastroke didnt do the Olympic time either ?
In fact beating Wison by 3 tenths of a second in the 100 ….
While i cogratulate Joshua and wish him all the best SELECTORS YOU GOT IT WRONG in not picking Wilson ….

aswimfan

kevin roose,
Wilson was swam way below Olympics Qualifying times (FINA A), it’s just that he was just fractions of seconds off silly Australia’s own qualifying times.

And yes, I agree with you that Australian selectors got it wrong.
How many 17 yo in the world who swim 1:00 AND 2:09??

Attila Riez

To be fair on Daniel’s coaching: I have just learned that his coach, Sandor Szeles, cannot go to Rio, having serious health issues over the recent years. For the first time since Athens, he won’t be there on the spot to support Daniel. Also, last year in Kazan he was taken to hospital.

Craig Lord

Thanks for the info Attila, do you know what Sandor’s illness is?

Attila Riez

His liver was close to fail, now recovering promisingly, but still cannot take that long trip.

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