Swimmer Peaty to skip British C’ships over mental health struggles

Adam Peaty said he is “not enjoying the sport” but is still planning to compete in next year’s Olympics. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON – Three-time Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty has withdrawn from next week’s British Swimming Championships due to mental health reasons.

The 28-year-old spoke in an Instagram post of his personal battles and the pressures that came with success, adding that he was tired and was “not enjoying the sport” as much as before.

However, he is still planning to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Briton will be hoping to retain the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m mixed medley golds he picked up at Tokyo 2020.

“Everyone wants to sit in your seat until they have to sit in your seat... very few people understand what winning and success does to an individual’s mental health,” Peaty said.

“They don’t understand the pressures these individuals put on themselves to win over and over again.

“As some people may know, I’ve struggled with my mental health over the last few years and it’s important to be honest about it.

“I’m tired, I’m not myself and I’m not enjoying the sport as I have done for the last decade.

“Some might recognise it as burnout. I just know that, over the last few years, I haven’t had the answers that I’m looking for. With help, now I know how I can address the imbalance in my life.”

The eight-time world champion suffered a setback in 2022 after breaking his foot in a freak training accident, which ruled him out of the World Aquatics Championships. However, he was able to recover in time and compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

There, he suffered his first defeat in the 100m breaststroke in eight years, finishing fourth, though he bounced back 48 hours later to win the 50m gold.

Peaty also claimed gold in the 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Rio Olympics and repeated the feat in Tokyo. His Tokyo success made him the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.

“While I am continuing to train, I have decided to withdraw from the British Swimming Championships next month. This is with the sole purpose of delivering the best performance possible in Paris at the 2024 Olympic Games,” he added.

“This sport has given me everything I am and I’m looking forward to finding the love I have for it again.”

British Swimming, meanwhile, said Peaty would continue working with long-standing coach Melanie Marshall as part of his recovery process. AFP, REUTERS

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