He is one of the most recognisable swimmers in British history but Adam Peaty insists that his sport needs to follow the example of boxing.
The three-time Olympic champion, currently engaged in his own fight to be fit for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, believes swimming chiefs should do more to heighten the drama of pool competition.
Peaty on the ring
“Look at the fan engagement, firstly, and how they put on a show,” Peaty told City A.M. “It’s not just the sport, which is the result, it’s how they put the sport on for the fans.
“If you look at how it’s presented on TV; the ring walk, the fans can almost touch them and feel that emotion.
“If you really break down what sport is for fans, it’s a micro shot of what they [athletes] are experiencing.
“When you see someone fight on TV, you may not even know them but you get nervous.”
Peaty suffered a freak foot fracture while training in a gym in the Canary Islands last month, ruling him out of this month’s World Championships, where he was aiming to do the quadruple double of winning two golds in four consecutive meets.
It marked a rare injury for the 100m breaststroke world record holder, but that didn’t stop him from using his recovery time to keep active.
“It’s the first injury I’ve ever had,” added Peaty, who recently took on a hill climb challenge in a car provided by sponsors Cupra.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and accept it. I like a challenge and coming back from this could be a good thing mentally.
“If anything it’s given me more hunger. I have to work a little harder for the same results but that’s added depth to my journey.
“I’m just sticking to the process and being patient, trying to find the wins every single day and staying present.
“It’s about accepting it but at the same time being a demon every single day in attacking cycling and skiing and whatever else has been thrown at me.”
Paris and beyond
Peaty had a specially designed 3D boot to aid in his recovery and has been back in the pool swimming – albeit using just his arms.
He hopes to be ready for the Commonwealth Games next month, before setting his sights on the next Olympic Games in Paris next year. Beyond that, the next Olympic cycle finishes in Los Angeles in 2028, when Peaty will be 34.
“We work in quads and we break [down the training cycle] in terms of importance,” Peaty said.
“Normally year one you get back on the train, year two you get it going and in year three you’re pretty much there. Year four is where you go full steam.
“I’m young in the brain, I am 27 now but don’t really feel it. I think it’s harder to wake up in the mornings some days but that’s about it.”
The Olympian has broken the world record 14 times and in 2019 reached his long-established goal of completing a 100m breaststroke race in under 57 seconds – a serious amount of work for just a few seconds of action.
“You’ve got years to do all of your work and get ready and then you’ve got to prove yourself in 56 seconds,” Peaty said. “You’re looking at tenths of seconds, milliseconds, every single decision you make in those years will somewhere have an impact.
“I didn’t choose an easy life and I wouldn’t want one either but everything comes at a price and you need to be willing to pay that price.”
Adam Peaty drives the Cupra Formentor, the high-performance coupé crossover SUV. For more information visit www.cupraofficial.co.uk