British swimmer Adam Peaty recorded a new world record in the 100m breaststroke during the semi-finals of the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, on Sunday, eclipsing his previous time of 57.10 seconds he set during the European Championships last year.
Peaty, 24, crushed his previous record by over two-tenths of a second and became the first man to swim the race in under 57 seconds, setting a time of 56.88.
“There’s no other word except for ‘incredible’,” he told the Guardian. “Obviously I’ve been chasing that for three years now, ever since I touched that wall in Rio I was like, ‘I could go faster.’”
The record is special to Peaty after he suffered a mental dip following his gold medal performance in the breaststroke during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He told the BBC he practices “active meditation” to aid his mental health.
“To stay No. 1 over this period of time is very hard and takes a toll on you mentally. It takes a toll on you physically,” he told the outlet before the race.
Peaty finished the race nearly two seconds ahead of China’s swimmer, Yan Zibei, who finished in second with a respectable time of 58.67 during the first semi-final in South Korea.
Even though the swimmer has battled mental health issues, he’s commanded the 100m breaststroke — setting the 14 best times in the category in recent years.
Peaty previously told BBC Sport that he felt good about breaking his own record in South Korea, describing it as the “magic 57-second barrier”
“I could blow it away, get near it or be miles off it, but it’s looking good,” Peaty told the outlet.
Next up for Peaty is the 2020 Summer Olympics in Toyko, where he will seek to keep his title in the 100m breaststroke.