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Mel Marshall 'living the dream' after collecting Lifetime Achievement Award

After earning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BT Sport Action Woman Awards 2019, Mel Marshall says she ‘lives her dream every day’ by coaching some of British swimming’s biggest stars.

Just days after being named UK Coaching’s High Performance Coach of the Year, Marshall added another accolade to cap a standout year.

Marshall helped Adam Peaty become the first man to break the 57-second barrier as he defended his 100m Breaststroke title at the FINA World Championships earlier this year.

She also guided Luke Greenbank to bronze in the 200m Backstroke and the men’s 4x100m Medley Relay team to gold in Gwangju.

Reflecting on her relationships with the swimmers, Marshall said: “It’s an incredible honour. In sport, you can spend a lot of days in the dark for a few really special days in the light and today is one of those days in the light, so it’s a real honour.

“It’s like a marriage really. You spend a lot of time together and a lot of time disliking each other.

“I say it’s like climbing Everest. Some days you need an oxygen mask, some days you need a tent, and some days you just need someone to listen to you.

“We work through those challenges every day and I’m incredibly lucky. When I left swimming in 2008, I wanted to work at the highest level with the best possible athletes.

“I really get to live my dream every day and they are a true privilege. They have their moments, don’t get me wrong, but most of the time we’re all striving to the same thing and that’s a really special place to work.”

Peaty still yet to reach his peak

Marshall has received widespread acclaim for her partnership with Peaty, helping the 24-year-old win Olympic gold in 2016 and break the world records in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke.

In a video message, Peaty said: “I think she is one of the most deserved winners.

“She has come an incredibly long way, and so have I. She developed me into the man I am today.

“I don’t think she would agree, but she’s had a massive impact on my life and my performance. It’s great to share the successes and a few failures along the way.”

In an exciting sign for the future, Marshall believes Peaty is still yet to reach his peak, despite achieving ‘Project 56’ – his most ambitious goal to date.

She added: “He hasn’t uncovered his best performance yet and he hasn’t found his best version as a performer or a human being yet.

“Every single day, we try to get that little bit better as a person and an athlete.

“That’s what we’re just going to try and achieve – getting the best version of him.”

Photo: BT Sport

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