Adam Peaty: The secrets to swimming success

Few athletes break world records. Fewer manage to do it twice — on the same day.

But Adam Peaty is no normal athlete. Aged just 22, the British swimmer picked up two gold medals in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events at the recent World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and a silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

It was his 50m performances that really caught the eye, as Peaty broke his own world record first in the semifinals, and then again in the final, becoming the first man ever to go sub 26 seconds in the process.

“It’s unreal,” Peaty, who also won gold in the 100m breaststroke at last year’s Olympics, told CNN World Sport.

“I got there in the morning and was quite tired from the 100m. I just dived in and when I touched the other side, I was like ‘Oh my God, I’ve just gone under 26 seconds. I’ve just smashed my world record from two years ago.’

“I was just so tired from semifinal, but I got this urge from what I wanted and just took myself back to what I wanted from the sport and thought: ‘I’ve come this far, why not push on again?'”
And push on he did.

Despite narrowly missing out on a world record in the 100m, Peaty’s dominance of the event is such that he has now recorded each of the 10 fastest-ever times over the distance.

Secrets to success

So what’s his secret? Hard work, mainly. Which means “smashing it” in training.

“35 hours a week, six hours a day,” says Peaty. “Absolutely killing training each day. I can’t explain how much I do. You’d have to see it in person.

“If you’re down at 5% energy, you’ve got to find that 95% and get up there. That’s going to make the difference between coming fourth and breaking world records.”

But he’s got another secret, too, and that concerns his technique.

During the world championships, fellow swimmer Cameron can der Burgh said his rival was “swimming a new kind of stroke — a metamorphosis between butterfly and breast.”

Peaty, the envy of his fellow competitors, is revolutionizing the sport of swimming.

“A lot of breaststrokers are very tense, go in the gym and try and build as much muscle as possible,” says Peaty.
“But you want the complete opposite of that. Obviously you want the muscle, but you’ve got to be relaxed.”

Looking ahead

After already winning his first gold medal aged 21, Peaty is now eying success at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“Obviously I’ve got to celebrate what I did in Budapest. For now it’s all about chocolate cake and relaxing.

“But when I’m back to it, I’m back to it. I’ll smash training, absolutely. But for me, it’s not a problem peaking for Tokyo, it’s what I do.

“I’ve got a good support team behind me to make sure I get there.”

Fernando Alonso may ‘look outside F1’

Fernando Alonso has had plenty of time to ponder his future over Formula One’s summer break, but as the 2017 season gets set to resume in Spa, decision day is fast approaching for the two-time world champion.

After months of speculation, the 36-year-old Spaniard will announce a decision over the coming weeks about his racing plans for 2018.
The question has centered on whether he will stay with McLaren or move to another team, but Alonso concedes that his fate may lie outside the sport if he cannot contend for race wins and championships.

The question has centered on whether he will stay with McLaren or move to another team, but Alonso concedes that his fate may lie outside the sport if he cannot contend for race wins and championships.
“Formula One is still my priority, it’s my life, and winning the world championship is what I’m hoping,” Alonso told CNN’s The Circuit.

“Formula One is still my priority, it’s my life, and winning the world championship is what I’m hoping,” Alonso told CNN’s The Circuit.
“If I don’t see any project that will allow me to fight for the win I will look outside F1 — but that’s (a decision I will make around) November-December. I will try all the possibilities before that.”

“If I don’t see any project that will allow me to fight for the win I will look outside F1 — but that’s (a decision I will make around) November-December. I will try all the possibilities before that.”
Despite advancing years — he turned 36 in July — and being saddled with an uncompetitive McLaren car for the past three seasons, Alonso’s hunger for success remains undimmed — fueled in part by the new, faster 2017 F1 cars, and his one-off appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

Despite advancing years — he turned 36 in July — and being saddled with an uncompetitive McLaren car for the past three seasons, Alonso’s hunger for success remains undimmed — fueled in part by the new, faster 2017 F1 cars, and his one-off appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in May.
“I went to Indianapolis and I had that feeling again that I can win this race … the feeling that you could win that race was special,” Alonso said.

“I went to Indianapolis and I had that feeling again that I can win this race … the feeling that you could win that race was special,” Alonso said.
Given he had zero experience on oval tracks prior to entering the Indy 500, some drivers openly feared for Alonso’s safety — Scott Dixon’s horrific crash during the 2017 race graphically illustrated just how dangerous IndyCar can be.

Given he had zero experience on oval tracks prior to entering the Indy 500, some drivers openly feared for Alonso’s safety — Scott Dixon’s horrific crash during the 2017 race graphically illustrated just how dangerous IndyCar can be.
But Alonso, ever the racer, was focused on the victory.

“When I jump in the car, I put my legs inside the cockpit, the mechanics put the belts on, (and I’m thinking) when I take the belts off and I pull myself out of the car maybe I am the winner of this race — I was thinking that in this moment. That feeling was magic.”

“When I jump in the car, I put my legs inside the cockpit, the mechanics put the belts on, (and I’m thinking) when I take the belts off and I pull myself out of the car maybe I am the winner of this race — I was thinking that in this moment. That feeling was magic.”

It wasn’t to be — his race unraveled in all too familiar fashion with an engine blow out 21 laps from home, spoiling what was widely hailed as an hugely impressive IndyCar debut.

It wasn’t to be — his race unraveled in all too familiar fashion with an engine blow out 21 laps from home, spoiling what was widely hailed as an hugely impressive IndyCar debut.

The crowds reaction not just to Alonso but all the drivers taking part also made a huge impact on the F1 star.

The crowds reaction not just to Alonso but all the drivers taking part also made a huge impact on the F1 star.

“I think it’s a different culture, a different way of understanding motorsport or sport in general — much more open, much more friendly to all of us,” he said.

“It’s the kind of feeling that the sport is beyond nationalities. All of us there were heroes for all the people in the grandstand. They support all of us in the same way and they really enjoyed the race.”

In terms of “places Alonso would rather be,” IndyCar, he insists, isn’t one of them right now — although he doesn’t rule out another stateside adventure.

Maria Sharapova granted US Open wild card

Maria Sharapova is set to make her first grand slam appearance since serving a 15-month doping ban.

Sharapova, a five-time major champion and a former world No. 1, has been given a wild card for the women’s singles main draw at the US Open.

The USTA made the announcement on Tuesday, also giving wild cards to Taylor Townsend, Kayla Day, Sofia Kenin, Ashley Kratzer, Brienne Minor and Amandine Hesse.

Sharapova, 30, returned to the WTA Tour in April and is currently ranked No. 148. Due to her suspension, her ranking had plummeted to a level where she wasn’t good enough to reach the main draw of the French Open, Wimbledon or the US Open, thus necessitating a wild card entry.

In May, the French Tennis Federation denied Sharapova a wild card entry to the French Open. Following that decision, Sharapova elected to enter Wimbledon qualifying in the final week of June instead of requesting a main-draw wild wildcard.

However, she was forced to pull out of Wimbledon qualifying due to a thigh injury she suffered at the Italian Open in May.

Sharapova hasn’t played in a major since she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals on January 25, 2016. Her last major title came in 2014, when she won the French Open. Sharapova won the US Open in 2006 and reached the semifinals in 2005 and 2012.

In March 2016, Sharapova announced that she had tested positive for meldonium. She said she failed to realize the heart drug she had taken for more than a decade for various health issues had been added to the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016.

Initially, she was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation, but it was reduced on appeal to 15 months.

Kayla Harrison on depression, suicidal thoughts and being saved by her sport

Judo saved my life.

The sport gave me a goal, gave me something to wake up for. If I didn’t have that when I was a teenager, I might not even be here.

When I was 16, having just moved to Boston to train with the Olympic coaches Jimmy Pedro and his father, I’d also just revealed to my mom that my first coach had sexually abused me. It was a tumultuous time.

Every day I thought about quitting the sport.

I thought about running away, of being a Barista in New York where no-one would know me or look at me.

I struggled with thoughts of suicide for years, during the abuse and after the abuse, but having a goal — the dream of being an Olympic champion — and strong people around helped in my darkest hour.

It speaks volumes about my coaches and my teammates that they were able to drag me from rock bottom to the pinnacle.

When I was first in Boston living with the judo team, I didn’t want to lift weights, I didn’t want to go to school, or go to therapy, but I had no choice. If I wanted to be in the judo house I had to follow the rules.

There were days when my teammates would drag me out of bed and drive me to school and they would watch me walk through the school doors.

Jimmy, the coach, didn’t usually take kids who were under 18, but these were special circumstances. My mom had nowhere else to go and I’m really thankful he said OK. A lot of people wouldn’t have considered having a 16-year-old car wreck.

I had to pay the rent so I worked in a hardware store for 50 hours a week, as well as going to school and training, before eventually working at the judo school and that is when judo became work and play.

I’d always dreamed of being an Olympic champion. From the age of six I wanted to be the best in the world at something.

When I was little, I saw a karate commercial on TV and so I was running around, kicking things in the house, breaking them, and my mom — who did judo as self defense — decided that, if I was going to do martial arts, judo was the safest.