Adam Peaty wins 100m breaststroke gold, misses world record (video)

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Great Britain’s Adam Peaty repeated as world 100m breaststroke champion with the second-fastest time in history on Monday.

Peaty clocked 57.47 seconds, trailing only his Rio Olympic-winning swim of 57.13. American Kevin Cordes took second, a distance 1.32 seconds behind. Russian Kirill Prigoda earned bronze.

“[Eleven] months after Rio, it’s going to be so hard to get back what I had in Rio, but I’m more than happy to come here, defend my title, or attack my title,” Peaty said on the BBC. “Year after year, we’re going to find bits [to lower my time].”

The last U.S. world medal in this event came in 2007, when Brendan Hansen repeated as world champ.

“I had really nothing to lose,” Cordes said of chasing the dominant Peaty, who led by eight tenths at 50 meters.

Peaty, 22, now holds the 11 fastest times ever in the 100m breast, all set since 2015. The next-fastest man all time, Olympic gold and silver medalist Cameron van der Burgh (58.46), opted not to swim the 100m breast at worlds to focus on the 50m breast.

Peaty is the 50m breast favorite. He also holds the world record and is defending champion. The preliminary heats and semifinals are Tuesday, with the final Wednesday in the non-Olympic event. Peaty is not swimming the 200m breast.

Peaty could also be a huge factor in the medley relay on Sunday, where the Great Britain could be the top challenger to the U.S. The Brits took silver at the Rio Games.

Men’s 100m Breaststroke Results
Gold: Adam Peaty (GBR) — 57.47
Silver: Kevin Cordes (USA) — 58.79
Bronze: Kirill Prigoda (RUS) — 59.05
4. Yasuhiro Koseki (JPN) — 59.10
5. Cody Miller (USA) — 59.11
6. Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU) — 59.21
7. Yan Zibei (CHN) — 59.42
8. Ross Murdoch (GBR) — 59.45

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Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

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Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

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Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

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Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

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