Last month 25-year-old Adam Peaty announced he is expecting his first child with girlfriend Eirianedd Munro (Eiri). The Olympic and world champion revealed the child is expected to be a boy, with the due date set for September of this year.
Although the world record holder says he’s overjoyed with the baby news as he seeks to defend his Olympic gold from Rio, Peaty has revealed times haven’t always been so joyful, as he recently spoke candidly about dark times he’s encountered in the past.
“I was in a place where you don’t find any fun in anything or you don’t really see the point in anything,” the Loughborough man said recently, according to Brinkwire, speaking of a bout with depression in late 2018.
Drawing parallels to American swimming greats Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, both of whom suffered from depression, Peaty discussed how soaring to the highest of highs with an Olympic gold can also bring you the lowest of lows when your slate is all of a sudden wiped clean.
“After Rio, you get the post-Olympic blues, but my deepest low was at the end of 2018. The Commonwealth Games was a tough time because I took a loss in the 50m and I am the fastest man on the planet, so why was I losing? That doubt creeped [sic] up. There wasn’t really that much belief in myself.
Peaty’s defeat came when the 50m breaststroke Commonwealth Games gold was instead earned by now-retired South African Olympian Cameron van der Burgh. The outcome represented Peaty’s first loss in 4 years.
Immediately after that race on the Gold Coast, Peaty said, “It gives me a reality check. Even if you are the best in the world, world record holder, you can still be beaten. I think that’s the most valuable lesson from today.”
Peaty’s recent interview talks about how the loss there triggered the star going down the path of ‘drinking and partying too much’.
“I’d love to go out on a Friday night, on a Saturday night with the lads. I did that in 2018, pretty much, from like September to December.”
“After the Commonwealths, towards the end of the year, I didn’t have any races. And when you involve off-season and you involve partying and drinking, that’s a depressant in itself, so I was doing that a lot. I kind of, not went off the rails, but I didn’t really have that overwhelming motivation to perform at something. And I am a performer, so if I don’t have something to perform at, I completely lose my track.
“Add that in with all that partying and stuff, it wasn’t that great to have that all at once.”
However, ‘getting bored’ of that routine, in the end, allowed the breaststroker to ‘get it out of his system’. He would go on to break his own World Record in the 100m breaststroke at the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships, hitting a monumental time of 56.88 in the semi-finals.
“I evolved so much more from that [the Commonwealth Games loss] than I ever would had I won,” Peaty said. “So I am glad I lost that race. A few months later I broke the world record, so that’s kind of how much it p***** me off.”
Phelps and Lochte each moved on from their depression to accomplish things both in and out of the pool. The legendary pair turned to their families as inspiration and motivation to be better men, which is potentially the path Peaty may follow with his first child on the way.
For instance, Lochte told People Magazine last December, “I’m so happy with my life and the way things are going right now. If this was all said and done now, I’d be happy. Just because I’m obsessed with being a dad. It is the greatest thing in the world.
I knew I was going to be a good father, just because I know how I am and how big my heart is. I’m always on cloud nine. I never have a bad day since my kids have been born.”
With the baby’s due date drawing near, Peaty is locked in on Tokyo ‘2020’, even though he’s already accomplished ‘Project 56’. When asked if ‘Project 55’ is now the goal, he responded, “It’s possible but it’s going to f****** take a lot. It’s a big ask. But I never say never. I am so obsessed with getting faster right now, that is my life.”
That’s especially for a man who has been training an 18ft flume tank in his garden during the lockdown.
“I love being on top and if I wasn’t winning, someone else would be on top and for me that’s not acceptable,’ he says. ‘But it’s not just about going to the Olympics and winning it, it’s being the best possible version and the fastest person I can be.”