Adam Peaty Focuses on Leaving an Extraordinary Legacy

Jeff Grace
by Jeff Grace 28

September 05th, 2017 Britain, News

At the age of 22 Adam Peaty has achieved almost everything a swimmer could hope to in their career. He has won the European Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Since 2015 he has set both the long course 50 breaststroke and the 100 breaststroke world records three times.

Building a Legacy

He of course looks collect more gold and set more records in the future, but for him the primary focus is his legacy, “There is no better feeling than leaving a legacy that you are proud of,” Peaty told SwimSwam. “Longer term you want people to recognize you for what you have done.”

“I think there are three tiers. First the swimming world knows you, then the sports world knows you and then everyone knows you.”

The one word that Peaty would like to be synonymous with his name is extraordinary.

“To go to an extraordinary place you have to be 100% focus everyday. I love the grind. I love the day in and day out. I love getting up early, getting the tunes on, getting to the pool. Using the whole day.”

Photo Credit: Peter Sukeník

“I do not waste an opportunity. You see a lot of people wasting opportunities these days. I just grab them with both hands and try to make them count.”

With his impressive resume Peaty has already set a great foundation for a legacy in the pool, but that is not where it stops. This summer after the conclusion of the World Championships he dedicated much of his time to raising money for the Perfect Day Foundation. An organization that promotes the positive benefits of sport and supports children in Zambia enabling them to experience those benefits.

Peaty and his coach Melanie Marshall have been taking part in the 50 for 50 Challenge where the goal is to rasie £50,000 for the foundation, “It was 50 hours of sport in five days, 10 hours of sport each day. The first day was basketball, the next day was netball, the third day was volleyball, the fourth day was football and the last day was triathlon.”

Peaty has developed an affinity for Africa having travelled there three times since 2012. He feels that spending time on the continent provides you with great perspective, “When you win the World Championships, when you win the Olympics and set world records you can lose touch of what is the ‘real world’.”

“I think Africa is a very special place where you can learn a lot,” said Peaty. “You gain a lot of perspective. The kids just love it and the energy that they have is really amazing.”

A Special Coach-Swimmer Relationship

The most influential person in Peaty’s swimming career has and continues to be his coach Melanie Marshall. Marshall started coaching Peaty at the age of 14, “Mel has always mentored me from a young age,” said Peaty.

“Mel is a very unique character and that enables me to have a very unique relationship with her.”

Two of the things that he feels makes Marshall unique and their relationship so strong is her experience and how she treats each person as an individual, “She is very adaptable to any situation. She has obviously been there and done it so she has the experience.”

“Mel is a different kind of coach. I think a new generation of coach. She understands that different people have different needs.”

“She works amazingly hard and very long hours, but that is how you get the results.”

Enjoying the Process

One of the most powerful pieces of advice he has received from Marshall is to simply enjoy the process, “I think the best piece of advice has been to enjoy the journey. You never know when it is going to be your last competition, you never know when it is going to be your last training session.”

Peaty offers the same advice to those trying to follow in his footsteps, “Enjoy it and be grateful.”

“I am so grateful to be in this position. I could be working a 9-5 job or in a supermarket somewhere. There is nothing wrong with that, but this is my dream and I am pursuing it.”

Instead of your typical 9-5 a day in the life of Adam Peaty looks something like this:

  • 6:00 am – Wake up
  • 7:30 am – Pre pool routine
  • 8:00-10 am – Swim practice
  • 10:30-12:00 pm – Gym session
  • 3:30 pm – Pre pool routine
  • 4:00-6:00 pm – Swim practice
  • 6:00-6:30 pm – Stretching

“It is a good life,” Peaty said with a laugh.

When speaking with Peaty his passion, his love for the sport and his commitment to achieving the extraordinary comes through loud and clear. In our conversation the one thing he continued to express was just how much joy he experiences in his pursuit of excellence, “Enjoy it. I keep coming back to that, but it really is just about; Do you love the sport? If you do just race.”

Adam Peaty – 2016 Olympic Games in Rio -courtesy of Simone Castrovillari

“There is no pressure at the World Championships, there is no pressure at the Olympics because I am doing what I love and I am grateful for what I do.”

“Going into Rio I had a massive light on me, but it didn’t bother me. It is just the way I work.”

Peaty has accomplished a lot in his career so far, but his legacy is what is most important to him, “There is no point in winning all of those medals and breaking those world records without putting it back into the grassroots and hopefully inspiring millions around the world.”

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Dan D.

Adam is my hero! His character, mentality, work ethic, and passion are just like mine. No other swimmer connects with my character like him. Adam inspires me to be the best person I can be.


You chose well, Dan D.


Legacy = move up and swim the 200. You’re a one trick pony, and the 50s don’t count.


I agree, he should do 200, but 25 50 breast is more impressive than a 2:06

Harry Dresden

I completely disagree. The 50 breast is a pure talent event, requiring little training to perform at a high level (relative to ones personal potential of course). The 200 on the other hand requires the development of easy speed, tremendous aerobic capacity, pacing, strategy, etc. I suppose it’s a subjective thing, but for my part I’d rather watch a well-put-together 200 than 25 seconds of thrashing, even if its very very fast thrashing.


Thrashing? Learn biomechanics before commenting on sprinting ever again; your mindset is flawed. Do you think Usain Bolt goes out and thrashes for a 100m dash?

Harry Dresden

Running is not swimming, your mindset is flawed. Watch any 50 meter race, all you see is a bunch of white water until its over. The same thing does not happen on land. I think thrashing is an appropriate description. Oh and for what’s its worth, I took bio mechanics in college and finished with 98% you condescending little punk.

crooked donald

I thought you were a 65 year old woman? Didn’t have biomechanics back then. What a troll. Pathetic.

Harry Dresden

Lol it’s not like I expected anyone to believe that. Just razzing ya donnie

Coach Mike 1952

why do you waste our time?

Harry Dresden

No ones got a gun to your head forcing you to read or respond

Harry Dresden

Also, they most certainly did have biomechanics back then. The concept and study of biomechanics has existed for literally thousands of years. But I wouldn’t expect you to check your facts.


He is a 2:08 200m breasteoker. He has already moved down to swimming the 100 breast.


Interestingly, the top male British breastrokers were told in 2012/13 not to focus on both the 100 & 200, as the powers that be reckoned that never again would someone dominate both events like kitajima did. Their analysis showed that as the times to win got faster, the more singular focus would be needed. That maybe wasn’t true until Peaty came along and destroyed what people thought possible in the 100. The way he races his 100 is not sustainable for 200, and moving up to the 200 would require a total change in mechanics. Anyone who has seen him train will know that he has (or at least has had) the physiology to win a 200, but the stroke… Read more »

Neil Jones

And his trick in the 100 is simply the most dominent swimmer on the planet in that event ! Yes you are welcome to add ms Ledecky to that argument. Nothing ‘tricky’ about being the fastest in an Olympic event by far currently and in history. I’d be that pony anytime.


Because a 57.1 100 breast doesn’t count right? especially in addition to a 25 second 50 breast and being the main reason GBR has been on the podium for the medley relay that last few years.


Kosuke Kitajima 4 breastroke golds 100m and 200m is the benchmark by a long way!

Harry Dresden

Agreed, he’s clearly the standard. Although he never blew out the field in either event the way Peaty does in the 50 and 100.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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