[Photo credit: Arena]
Adam Peaty is one of the fastest swimmers to come out of Britain. He impressively won the gold medal in the 100 metre breaststroke at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He is also currently the holder of the world record in 50 metre and 100 metre breaststroke events.
He'll be competing at the International Swimming League - London Match this November. It's a new event changing the world of competitive swimming. The fast-paced, electrifying short-course sessions will feature elite swimmers from around the world including Olympic and World Champions from over ten different countries. We spoke to Adam ahead of the event.
You specialise in the breaststroke, and have proven why with a multitude of medals you’ve collected over the last few years, but has breaststroke always been your first choice or have you experimented with other swimming strokes?
Yes, breaststroke has always been my first choice. I was always good at it from the very start, have always loved racing it. I loved turning up to meets and beating everyone, it came easy to me whilst I always struggled to develop the other strokes. When I was younger, my coach Mel always made me swim in different events but as I got older, I specialised in breaststroke. You’ll never see me in a backstroke race ever again!
Following such a successful Olympics in Rio, how are you preparing for Tokyo next year?
I’ve been preparing ever since I finished that last race in Rio. The last three years have been a slow but steady build towards Tokyo with this year the biggest increase in work and effort. The preparation never stops though, it’s a full four year cycle of working and the Olympics is always on my mind.
Ahead of the International Swimming League coming to London in November, how does competing in your home country differ to competing around the world?
Like a football match, you get a home crowd advantage – you get more support, the crowd is louder and it feels a lot better. Especially in London. We will be racing in probably one of the best pools in the world and we rarely get an opportunity to race in London. I can’t wait to get out there, race in a new format and race in front of a home crowd. I will be making the most of it!
You’re an Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion, and have repeatedly broken your own records, what’s next on the list of achievements?
My psychologist reminded me of a famous quote the other day: “You win, you win again and you win with class.” I want to be the perfect model for swimming in and out of the pool. I want to give back as much as possible through my race clinics and inspire the next generation of athletes, teaching them how to race. I think there is a gap where athletes at the top aren’t giving back to the next wave of swimmers and I believe we have a responsibility to do that.
To compete on the world stage, your training must be very intense. How do you keep yourself motivated?
The harder I train the more I motivate myself. I like to keep a rhythm and if I get out of that rhythm I struggle. I challenge myself in different ways, including the mental challenges. It takes a lot of time to develop that skill set but it is worth it and, importantly, it is working. So yes, it’s very intense but I have to find a way to beat my opponents. Everyone wants to take my crown, every race counts. And with 10-20 big races a year, it is a lot to handle when you are under that kind of pressure mentally. So I create a buffer zone where it is easier to win.
What would be your biggest career highlight so far?
Most definitely my Olympic gold in Rio. And what I’m striving for again in 2020. That was an incredible swim under huge pressure. And the world record. And, most recently, the 56.8 – that was the best technical swim I have ever done.
Adam will be competing at the International Swimming League - London Match this November, with tickets on sale now.
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