How Adam Peaty conquered his fear of water

ncs 11/08/2016
NCS Blog Adam Peaty

The medals are coming in thick and fast for Team GB, and like the whole country, we’re over the moon about a certain Olympic swimmer who floats like a butterfly, stings like a breaststroke champion. Adam Peaty – a true inspiration!

As you know, this week Adam became Britain’s first gold medallist at the Rio Olympics, torpedoing his way past the competition and smashing the world record in the 100m breaststroke final. In doing so, he became the first British man to win an Olympic swimming gold since 1988 – that’s officially A VERY LONG TIME.

But it turns out Adam didn’t always find it so easy to make a big splash. As a child, he was so afraid of water that his mum Caroline struggled to get him in the bath and would have to wash him upright.

"He didn't like the water when he was younger," his grandmother Mavis told the BBC. "He used to scream every time he got in the bath. And when his mum used to take him to the pool he used to scream there.”

Suffice to say, Adam wasn’t a fan of water in those days. Then Caroline tried a different strategy and asked a friend to take Adam to the pool.

“He's been swimming ever since,” Mavis says.

Down-to-earth Adam lives at home with his family in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire; mum Caroline is a nursery manager and dad Mark is a supermarket caretaker. At just 21 years-old, Adam’s incredible rise shows that anything’s possible with a bit of hard work, perseverance, and never being afraid to take the plunge!

Four years ago, Adam was a long way down the swimming pecking order, and admits he lacked the focus and commitment to make it as an Olympic swimmer. During the London Olympics, he was getting ready for a night-out with his mates when he checked his phone and saw that his friend Craig Benson had made the breaststroke semi-finals. It was a life-changing moment.

“From then, I watched all the Olympics and said to myself that I would make the next one,” Adam remembers. “That was my defining moment, to stop messing about and get my head down.”

So, what does a typical day for Adam look like now? It starts with a 4.30am alarm, a bite to eat, some morning press-ups, then straight into the pool, where he trains for 6 days a week. Before a race, Adam gets himself pumped by listening to Dr Dre and a bit of grime.

“You need that aggression,” he says. “Grime reminds me that swimming is very gladiatorial. I believe in that gladiatorial mind-set. I love it.”

While Adam was swimming to victory in Rio, his nan Mavis was watching at home and building a massive Twitter following! Her tweet after Adam won gold has been retweeted more than 2,400 times and liked by 7,600 people – #OlympicNan was trending soon afterwards.

So tell us what you think of Adam’s achievements @NCS, or tell Olympic Nan about it!