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Commonwealth Games so special for Peaty

Adam Peaty says the Commonwealth Games will always have a special place in his heart – as it was the competition that helped launch him to international success.

It was in Glasgow in 2014 that Peaty won his first senior title, shocking South Africa’s pre-event favourite Cameron van der Burgh to strike gold in the 100m breaststroke.

Adam Peaty
  • DOB: 28/12/1994
  • Club: Loughborough National Centre
  • Coach: Mel Marshall
  • CWG: Won 100m Breaststroke and 4x100m Medley Relay gold, 50m Breaststroke silver on debut at Glasgow 2014

Four years on, Peaty has become a household name and has set himself the target of becoming the first person to swim the 100m breaststroke in under 57 seconds – which would see him shatter his own world record in the process.

Whether that will happen on Australia’s Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games remains to be seen. But the 23-year-old reigning Olympic, Commonwealth, World and European champion is not ruling it out.

He said: “You can never say never but I’m looking to peak in 2019-2020 and this Olympic cycle before I become an old man of the sport.

“Outdoor racing for me I love – it’s my favourite type of racing so we’ll see where that gets us.

“I always say it does not matter when it happens [Project 56] but it’s going to happen. Hopefully, I’ve got 10 more years in the sport and that’s my main aim.

“I do not know whether Mel [coach Mel Marshall] has given me the training to do it or whether she is holding off with me.

“The Commonwealth Games will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first competition that launched my senior career. I built on that a few weeks after in the Europeans, when I got my first world record, which was a great stepping stone for the World Championships and then the Olympics.

“It built the momentum. Now we’re coming round to the Commonwealth Games again where I’ll hopefully defend my four-year title of being undefeated.

“Hopefully, it will be a good celebration.”

Stepping stone

Peaty, who overcame a fear of water as a child, says the trip to Australia will be an excellent experience as he targets the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“It’s going to be a good competition to learn about the jet leg going out to the Gold Coast,” he said. “It will be a great stepping stone going into Tokyo seeing how it affects my body and how long it takes my body to get back up to race speed.

“I’ll be learning all these things for Tokyo as I want to peak at Olympics. It’s a great opportunity to get used to going east and performing.”

The European Championships later this year is also a key target for Peaty but, for now, it’s all about Team England.

“It will be great to go there and defend my title and bring it back for England,” he said. “I’m very patriotic. I’ve got a lion on my arm – you can’t get more patriotic than that.

“We’re all looking to peak at the Europeans and create a season’s best at same time. I do not know what to expect at the Commonwealths.

“We are going to be in different teams, England Wales and Scotland, and its a long way but who knows I could swim a world record and blow it out the park. I feel physically fit, mentally very healthy and confident.

“But all the pieces of the puzzle have to come together for that very special swim.”

Unique relationship

Peaty was also quick to praise the work of his coach, Mel Marshall, and said: “I trust Mel with my life.

“Sport is very unpredictable but she prepares me for the best and the worst. We always say the blame, if it doesn’t go right, is 50-50 straight down the middle but that’s the same for the success as well.

“Sometimes I say I have to work hard as I’m feeling very good and don’t want to waste this opportunity. Some days I say ‘Mel I’m absolutely battered, I can’t do any more’.

“It’s a very unique relationship when you have that trust in each other.”