Wounded lion Adam Peaty bit back to 50m gold and got his paws on the only major title that has eluded him.
Before last month’s broken foot, defeat to Cameron van der Burgh at Gold Coast 2018 was the biggest setback of his career.
The 27-year-old swam through the storm to complete the set of breaststroke titles, leading from block to wall to take victory in a time of 26.76 .
“That was the only one I hadn’t won in my career, I can retire now,” he joked.
“I lost my spark at the start of the week but to have it back now, this is what it’s about.
“I’m a much happier man. I had two options this morning, fight or don’t fight. If anyone knows me, I fight.
“That means so much to be, the time I don’t care, that means so much to me because of what I’ve been through the last few months, the last year, the last five years.”
One length proved no problem for Peaty in the 100m final - he led at the halfway mark - but his lack of speed endurance saw him overhauled by all comers.
He was on top of the lane rope and the world again after 24 hours dominated by the double Olympic champion’s supposed disrespect for the ‘friendly Games.’
“I want to be accountable for that, it came across very wrong and I did address it,” said Peaty, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
“There was a lot of emotion yesterday. A lot of people must understand I reached the bottom of the bottom yesterday. To bring myself up in my own mind is a result.”
Silver was won by Australia’s Sam Williamson, 0.21 behind Peaty, and there was an improbable bronze for 28-year-old Ross Murdoch in the final individual race of his career.
Peaty’s team-mate Luke Greenbank has been British swimming’s Mr. Consistent in recent years, barely missing a podium across Olympic, world and European Championships.
But in the men’s backstroke 200m final, which he led when turning for home, he faded badly and with a 30.82 split for the final length was overtaken by gold medal-winning teammate Brodie Williams, Australia’s Bradley Woodward, and South Africa’s Pieter, finishing fifth.
Greenbank had taken gold ahead of Williams at April’s British Championships, but it was his compatriot’s day in front of a packed Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
On Greenbank’s influence, Williams said: “It’s just so good we’ve great British backstrokers now, hopefully we can keep pushing each other and get the best out of each other.
“Everyone is pushing each other. He’s been the British standard for a while, so I’ve always been aiming to get close to him. Now I’m at the ability to maybe push him on and he’ll push me on. It’s a great little double act.
“I said to him at the end ‘your Olympic bronze medallist, you’ll come back stronger, and we’ll keep fighting together’.”
For the second time in 48 hours, Selston’s Molly Renshaw was gutted to take fourth place but found solace in the swimming company she keeps.
Renshaw was one place down in the medals in Sunday’s 200m breaststroke final and agonisingly suffered the same fate in Tuesday night’s 100m, before the whole field embraced in a touching moment at the friendly Games.
She said: “We all put each other at ease and get on so well, they’re all so lovely.
“Coming fourth again is quite gutting but having those girls alongside me, I wouldn’t want to be part of any other group.”
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