Adam Peaty finished sixth in his return to competitive swimming
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Three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty marked his competitive comeback with a sixth-place finish in the 100m breaststroke at the Swimming World Cup in Berlin.
The 28-year-old had not entered a meet since the Edinburgh International in March, the same month he pulled out of the British Championships and announced he would be taking a mental health-driven competition hiatus.
Peaty’s time of 59.85 on Friday was 2.97 seconds off his world record of 56.88, set at the 2019 World Championships.
China’s Qin Haiyang took victory in 57.69, while Dutch duo Arno Kamminga and Caspar Corbeau rounded out the podium.
World champion Qin’s time was good enough to make him the second-fastest man on the all-time list in the event, behind only Peaty who still holds the four fastest times.
With less than a year to go until the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Qin looks set to be defending Olympic champion Peaty’s top rival for individual gold.
Peaty outlined his ambitions for next summer’s Games when he took to social media in March to explain his decision to step away from competition.
He wrote: “Everyone wants to sit in your seat until they have to sit in your seat… very few people understand what winning and success does to an individual’s mental health. They don’t understand the pressures these individuals put on themselves to win over and over again.
“As some people may know, I’ve struggled with my mental health over the last few years and I think it’s important to be honest about it.
“I’m tired, I’m not myself and I’m not enjoying the sport as I have done for the last decade.
“Some might recognise it as burnout; I just know that over the last few years I haven’t had the answers. With help, now I know how I can address the imbalance in my life.
“Whilst I am continuing to train, I have decided to withdraw from the British Swimming Championships next month. This is with the sole purpose of delivering the best performance possible in Paris at the 2024 Olympic Games.
“This sport has given me everything I am and I’m looking forward to finding the love I have for it again.”
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