Peaty in Olympics 200m is risky – Spitz

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Peaty storms to 50m breaststroke gold
World Aquatics Championships on the BBC
Hosts: Budapest, Hungary Dates: 23-30 July
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Legendary Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz says Adam Peaty would be taking a risk by adding the 200m breaststroke to his programme for Tokyo 2020.

In 1972 Spitz won a then record of seven Olympic golds at one Games – a mark which stood until Michael Phelps won eight at Beijing 2008.

Peaty, who defended the 50m and 100m world titles this week, has suggested he could compete in 200m from 2018.

“There’s a cost in doing that,” Spitz told BBC Radio 5 live.

With the 50m breaststroke event not included for the 2020 Olympics, Peaty is considering adding the 200m to his race schedule in order to have the opportunity of winning two individual gold medals.

“A lot of times a 100m breaststroker doesn’t do well at the 200m, it can be due to training and desire, but also the order of the races at event,” continued Spitz.

“He has the speed, so all he needs is the conditioning to go two more laps, so the question is on Peaty – do you want to make the commitment?”

The American feels the only way Peaty can race in the 200m and it not have an impact on his 100m event, which he won at Rio 2016, is if the Olympic schedule is revised.

The programme for Tokyo 2020 has yet to be revealed, but the 100m breaststroke has come before the 200m at all Olympics dating back to the 1970s.

“If he’s in condition for the 200m breaststroke then he’s not going to be as good at the shorter distances,” he said.

‘Peaty is swimming’s poster boy’

“I know that as a fact because the schedule was changed for me three years before the Olympics so I could swim 200 events and that helped me taper for the 100s.

“If I’d had to swim 100s first, and then go to twice the distance afterwards, I would have won the 100s but I would not have been as sharp in the 200s.”

The America states Peaty’s performances have nevertheless been “incredible” in Budapest and believes the 50m event could be added to the Olympics in the future.

“Adam is so exciting to watch,” Spitz said.

“It’s a real disappointment that the 50m isn’t in Tokyo, but if he can stick around long enough it’ll probably be an event wherever the Olympics is held in 2024.”

Mark Spitz took seven Olympic gold medals in 1972, winning every individual event he entered in Munich

In a wide-ranging interview with 5 live, Spitz also said it could be decades before the sport produces “another Michael Phelps”, but that he has been impressed by USA’s Caeleb Dressell.

“It took 36 years for someone to come along and break my record and I don’t think someone will come along and replace Michael Phelps in the next 36 years,” he said.

“[But] if you’re looking for someone to win multiple medals then you’ll have to look to this guy Caeleb Dressel.”

You can hear this interview in full on BBC Radio 5 Live during coverage of the World Swimming Championships in Budapest from 16:30 BST on Sunday.

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