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.”
“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.”
“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.”