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Paddling with Peaty on the road to Rio... and Croatia

Masters Blogs

Our intrepid reporter Val Thorp from City of Derby explains how Adam Peaty helped her win a European Masters medal.

What’s Peaty done for me?

So what on the earth has Adam Peaty, Olympic champion, world record holder and absolute beast of a sprinter got to do with a 63-year old Masters swimmer winning a bronze medal in the European Masters Open Water Championships over 5k?

Actually quite a lot!

It helps I guess that we were in the same club; “a proper swimming club” (to quote Becky Adlington) rather than an elite setup. And it helps that we’ve both come under the influence of Mel Marshall who has now become National Lead Coach.

You have to agree my name dropping is of the highest swimming quality!

Training alongside Adam

Being fortunate enough to share the odd training session with Adam is an inspiring experience. That’s if you can stand the humiliation of being lapped by him doing kick while you’re swimming max front crawl.

Seeing how hard he works makes me keep going longer than I thought possible. Half way round an open water swim, when I’m feeling tired, I remember Adam throwing tractor tyres around and think “yeah, maybe I can keep going”.

I’m also reminded to focus on my weaknesses. When Adam broke the surface in the Rio final we all knew he was going to win. Six months of hard work on his one weakness, his start, had paid off.

Like many Masters swimmers, I have quite a few technical faults but I’ve learnt never to stop trying to overcome them. Have goals but concentrate on what you’re trying to do at that moment.

I think that’s what the sports psychologists mean by ‘focus on the process rather the outcome’.

Like Adam, make the most of your support network, family, friends, club and coaches. It’s not easy fitting in all your commitments as a Masters swimmer and they can really help get you through the times when things don’t go so well.

Personal touches mean a lot

But remember to include them in the celebrations when you achieve your goals. I particularly appreciate the times when Adam has said to me “how’s your swimming going then?”

Well it’s not quite as good as yours!

And also the email I received from Mel while she was in Rio, congratulating me on swimming at the National Masters Open Water Championships and telling me to “refocus and go again!”

So Adam, lets refocus. Tokyo and Budapest 2020 – you’ll be a Masters swimmer by then. Fancy joining me in the open water?!

The only time I’ve been disappointed with Adam is when he wouldn’t swap one of his medals for my bronze one.

As his mum told him: “You should swap, Adam. After all you don’t have any bronzes.” Thanks Caroline!