Ten weeks after breaking his foot in training, Adam Peaty allayed fears over the injury as he cruised into the final of the 100metre breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games.
Peaty had been forced to pull out of the preceding World Championships in Budapest and his participation in Birmingham 2022 was also in doubt.
He lacked a bit of his fluency in his heat on Saturday morning but his time of 59.seconds was still the quickest in the field as the only competitor under one minute in the heats.
Come the semi-finals, he sliced nearly a second off that time to be the stand-out qualifier for Sunday night’s final.
After two wins in the day, Peaty said: “Not bad for four weeks training is it? I enjoyed that a lot tonight. The time’s are a liftle bit off. It’s been a very difficult season... but I’m still getting the results. This is still my fourth race of the whole year so I’m still learning. Tomororw’s going to be a good race.”
Trying to judge quite where he is in terms of form and fitness is difficult to gauge. His times in the heat and semi-final were three and two seconds respectively slower than his world record but neither race needed to be particularly quick.
That said, his rhythm inside the pool at Sandwell Aquatics Centre was not quite as fluid as usual and he slowed a little in his final reaches to the finish of the heat.
Come the semi-finals, he got off to a quick start and was never bettered by the chasing pack through two laps of Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
Peaty remains unbeaten since the last Commonwealth Games but his rivals had perhaps saw a brief chink in his previous invincibility with his recent injury.
While the heat led to slight questions about his ability to win gold, in the semi-final it is hard to see how any of the other qualifiers can upstage him in the final.
England teammate James Wilby joins him in the final after winning his heat barely hours after winning silver in the 200m breaststroke the previous night and then returning to comfortably qualify from the semi-finals in second.