After his trailblazing Olympic exploits in 2016, it is quite something to hear Adam Peaty say 2017 was more successful as he aims to get even better.
Peaty became Britain’s first gold medallist of the Rio Olympics with 100 metres breaststroke victory in a Beamonesque world record of 57.13 seconds.
He recorded the second quickest time in history, 57.47secs, in winning the 2017 world title in Budapest in July, before clocking two world records in a day en route to adding the 50m breaststroke crown. His rivals are trailing in his wake.
Yet having moved house and training base and taking two months off to revel in the successes of his first Olympics, Peaty is more satisfied with his return from 2017 than 2016.
“I’m more pleased with this year,” said the 22-year-old.
“I think it’s been a much better year. As a whole it’s been very, very good, very successful.
Last year I had two months off. This year I’ve had two days, pretty much.Adam Peaty
“The 100 was a little bit off my best, but that will come back with a full winter training, which I’ll have this year.
“Last year I had two months off. This year I’ve had two days, pretty much.”
And it is that work ethic – overseen by his coach Mel Marshall having followed her from Derby to Loughborough – that is behind his past successes and will result in further success down the line.
“It’s all about a building block,” Peaty added. “How can we get better in 2018, how can we get better in 2019 and peak in Tokyo?”
For Peaty, it is now about winning again.
In 2014 he burst to prominence by winning Commonwealth and European titles. Four years on, he will be seeking to repeat and extend a lengthy unbeaten streak.
But his 2017 campaign continues this week in Copenhagen, where Peaty has opted to race instead of the national Winter Championships in Sheffield.
Peaty will be the overwhelming favourite to win the European Short-Course Championships which starts tomorrow and has more than one eye on the world records held by Cameron van der Burgh.
The South African’s 50m best in the 25m pool is 25.25 and 100m 55.61, and Peaty’s confidence comes from being close to those marks over the 50m, Olympic-sized pool.
The Briton added: “I’m actively seeking the next world record – whether I get it next week or whenever.
“I haven’t had a full taper this time, so my body’s not in proper race mode.
“A full taper for us is three or four weeks. I’ve had a week and a half. I think short course you can get away with it a bit. It will be interesting.
“I’m never going to say never, but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself.”
Peaty is one of the 12 contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize, shortlisted for a second straight year.
Asked who he would vote for, Peaty said: “Probably Anthony Joshua. The way he changed the sport, lifted it up, especially the heavyweight division. He’s a really nice guy. I think he’s got a really good chance of winning it.”