Swimming-Peaty will head to Paris with peace and no pressure

  • Swimming
  • Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Swimming - World Aquatics Championships - Aspire Dome, Doha, Qatar - February 12, 2024 Britain's Adam Peaty on the podium after winning bronze in the Men's 100m breaststroke final REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/ File Photo

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Olympic breaststroke champion Adam Peaty will be heading to Paris at peace with himself and under no pressure, and that could make him an even more dangerous opponent, he said on Wednesday.

The Briton is chasing a third successive 100m gold, the "three-Peaty" headlines at the ready, at 29 and after taking time out from competition for mental health reasons.

The world record holder, who took bronze at the world championships in Qatar in February, won the event at the British championships in April in 57.94 seconds, the fastest time of the year.

Asked, at a Team GB swim squad kitting out day in Birmingham how the 2024 Peaty differed from previous editions, he replied: "I guess more relaxed in my approach. A little bit more knowledgeable of self.

"When I look myself in the mirror I’m very peaceful.

"As soon as you stop running from yourself, I think that’s when you start living your true self and your true life. And in sport terms I think that’s when you’re most dangerous for everyone else because you’re just so at peace.

"I’m in a different place, I’m happy in my soul and that really relates to where you are physically and mentally as well."

Peaty, who would join U.S. great Michael Phelps as the only male swimmers to win gold in the same event at three Games, called himself an underdog.

"For me, going into these Games and especially these last 12 months, I’ve enjoyed being the person with the bow and arrow and not the one being fired at," he said.

"There’s no pressure really on me. Yes, I’m Olympic champion and people are going for that crown but...I haven’t really won anything since 2022 or 2021.

"I’m OK with that because I’ve been the underdog and I enjoy being an underdog, I enjoy fighting my way through the rounds," he added.

"It's shown me how to lose with grace. Because before I used to lose and I’d tear everything up. I’ve been like that since a kid. But now at 29 years old I think I can say I have learned how to lose."

Asked how he managed the balance between peace and competitive anger, Peaty smiled: "Peaceful down the first 50, anger on the last 50".

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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