Adam Peaty Details Reasons For Mental Health Break, Still Eyeing Glory In Paris 2024

The inaugural AP Race International Meet wrapped up over the weekend and, although its namesake swimmer Adam Peaty did not compete, the 28-year-old World Record holder was on deck greeting fans and athletes.

The competition which took place at London Aquatic Center was a positive milestone, as the breaststroking ace is forgoing this summer’s World Championships to focus on his mental health.

That doesn’t mean the champion isn’t still in pursuit of a possible 100m breast three-peat in Paris 2024. However, Peaty possesses a different mindset than what fueled him in the past two Games where he topped the podium.

“I do it for more reasons now,” Peaty told The Guardian recently.

“I do it for the memories, I do it for the family and pride. I do it for way more than just turning up and swimming a race, really.

“It’s not like I’m on a retreat and just doing it for the love of it. It’s always about the medals. It’s always about the three-peat. But while the medal is the material you get at the end of it, the journey you go on is the thing you’ll remember.

“If something you love becomes something you hate, stop, because it will just spiral and spiral. I was always one of those people who was like ‘no crack on, crack on’ and our culture used to be like that a little bit. But we look at the human cost of that and it’s huge.

“For me I was getting the gold but at what cost? Relationships end, your friends and family are on the back burner, even your own children have to be on the back burner. Everything you can ever imagine, your social life, things you enjoy are on the back burner. The counter argument to that is: you choose to do this. I did, but at the same time you’ve got to put number one first and I don’t see any problem with that.” (The Guardian)

Speaking to BBC this week, Peaty provided more details behind his decision to take a hiatus from competition.

“I took a break because I was on this endless search of a gold medal or a world record and I looked into the future and I said, ‘OK, if I do get that is my life fixed or any better?’ No.

“So take the time now to really think about who you are, what you want out of life and then get the gold medal. Hopefully when I get to the Olympics I will be in a very good mindset, very grateful and most importantly happy.”

Peaty continued, “As athletes our brains are wired a little bit differently, we’re constantly chasing reward and if we can see that reward we will work extremely hard for that reward.

“For me it was something that I was constantly chasing and constantly doing and I was like, ‘I don’t want this in my life, I don’t really want to do this all the time.'”

Peaty of Loughborough has indeed competed in 2023, racing at the Lausanne Swim Cup as well as an Australian meet earlier this year. He currently ranks 13th in the world in both the 50m and 100m breast, holding season-best times of 27.08 in the former and 59.57 in the latter.

In March he raced at the Edinburgh International Swim Meet where he grabbed gold in the 100m breast but put up his first result over the 1:00 threshold in the event in over a year (1:00.20). He also raced the 200m breast, his ‘off-event’, at that competition, hitting 2:16.41 in the prelims before opting out of the final.

Peaty remains the World Record holder in the 100m breast, owning a lifetime best of 56.88 from the 2019 World Championships. That time separates Peaty by nearly one solid second from the rest of the top performers of all time, with Dutchman Arno Kamminga (57.80, 2021) and Chinese swimmer Qin Haiyang (57.93, 2023) joining Peaty as the only athletes ever having dipped under the 58-second threshold.

Peaty still owns 19 of the top 20 performances in history in the men’s 100m breast, cementing his legacy no matter what happens in Paris next year.

Top 20 Men’s LCM 100 Breaststroke Performances in History

  1. Adam Peaty (GBR), 56.88, 2019
  2. Adam Peaty, 57.10, 2018
  3. Adam Peaty, 57.13, 2016
  4. Adam Peaty, 57.14, 2019
  5. Adam Peaty, 57.37, 2021
  6. Adam Peaty, 57.39, 2021
  7. Adam Peaty, 57.47, 2017
  8. Adam Peaty, 57.55, 2016
  9. Adam Peaty, 57.56, 2021
  10. Adam Peaty, 57.59, 2019
  11. Adam Peaty, 57.62, 2016
  12. Adam Peaty, 57.63, 2021
  13. Adam Peaty, 57.66, 2021
  14. Adam Peaty, 57.67, 2021
  15. Adam Peaty, 57.70, 2021
  16. Adam Peaty, 57.75, 2017
  17. Adam Peaty 57.79, 2017
  18. Arno Kamminga (NED), 57.80, 2021
  19. Adam Peaty, 57.87, 2019
  20. Adam Peaty, 57.89, 2018

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Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
3 months ago

He will be a shadow of himself in Paris. Sad.


You are such a bundle of joy.
…… but seriously this site would be 100 times better if you never comment again under any of your names. No one would miss you.

Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
Reply to  Joel
3 months ago

You are so tilted. I should change my name to “Kamminga is Peaty’s Daddy in Paris”….too easy. Here, take this: L
You and Peetee will be seeing a lot of it 🙂

3 months ago

Good for him for doing what’s best for him. Even if he never steps foot in a pool again he’s had a pretty legendary career, showing incredible dominance in an event that really is only matched by Ledecky.

I hope he is able to sort everything out and I would love for him to get back in the pool and keep winning, but even if he doesn’t, hopefully he’s happy doing whatever he does.

3 months ago

He may do it (the three-peat), but there is no way he’s gonna go under 57 next year…and if the other guys show consistency in the event, Paris could see the top 4/5 in that 57 realm.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

Oh, so this is what transparency looks like. That’s nice. U.S. swim fans know that, at this point, they’ll never get that.

Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

Us swim fans aren’t desperate for every detail because they don’t have to throw all their eggs into 1 or 2 baskets.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
Reply to  Swim2win
3 months ago

You know there’s a big difference between “every detail” and basically radio silence for an entire year?

Alison England
Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago


Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

There’s also a big difference between “your business” and “not your business.” If Peaty wants to share stuff that’s not really our business, that’s his choice, and credit to him. But others are not bound by Peaty’s timeline.

Alison England
Reply to  Swim2win
3 months ago

Remind us of the population of the US, compared to that of GBR!

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

Peaty is under no obligation to share anything to us. If he wants to, that’s fine, but he could have said nothing either.

Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
3 months ago

Comparing apples and oranges. Petty was never under any obligation to explain anything, his choices in regards to swimming have really only affected him. Therefore is rather reasonably be deduced that his motivations for speaking out are personal, something he actively wants to share with others rather than him accounting for something to others.

The desire many display to see Dressel speak about what he’s been / is going through is wanting him to account for his actions which did affect others, and regardless of how you feel about it, that in itself is reflective of the external pressures of that situation which we can reasonably assume were a part of everything.

I think ultimately does owe it… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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