The 50m breaststroke competition at the World Championships in Doha began on the third day of prelims. Nicolo Martinenghi led the first seeded heat with a time of 26.75, while Nic Fink and Adam Peaty swam side by side in lanes four and five of the fifth prelim.
Fink had a fantastic start and quickly established a half-bodylength lead over Peaty, with clear water separating them. In the final prelim, Fink finished first in 26.66, just ahead of Caspar Corbeau (27.11) and Peaty (27.23). Ilya Shymanovich, competing as a Neutral Individual Athlete, matched Fink’s time to lead the way into the semifinals.
Behind them, Sam Williamson (26.69), Martinenghi, and Peter Stevens (26.79) were also among the fastest through to the next round. Peaty qualified 12th, but he was determined to make it back into the competition after missing out on qualifying for the 100m breaststroke final earlier in the week.
As they prepared for their semifinals showdowns, athletes knew that anything could happen in this unpredictable and unique competition at Doha’s World Championships.