Olympic champion Adam Peaty has withdrawn from next month’s British Swimming Championships, citing struggles with his mental health.
“As some people may know, I’ve struggled with my mental health over the last few years and I think it’s important to be honest about it,” the 28-year-old said in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “I’m tired, I’m not myself and I’m not enjoying the sport as I have done for the last decade.”
“Some might recognise it as burnout; I just know that over the last few years I haven’t had the answers that I’m looking for. With help, now I know how I can address the imbalance in my life.”
The Brit added that he is continuing to train “with the sole purpose of delivering the best performance possible in Paris at the 2024 Olympic Games.”
Peaty has dominated men’s breaststroke for almost a decade, first breaking the 50 meters world record in 2014, and the 100 meters world record a year later. By 2021, he briefly held the 20 fastest 100m breaststroke swims in history.
Such dominance yielded three Olympic gold medals – one at the 2016 Rio Games and two at the 2020 Tokyo Games where he became the first ever British swimmer to defend an Olympic title – as well as victories in every 50m and 100m breaststroke event possible at senior international level.
But last May, he suffered a broken foot while training. At the Commonwealth Games two months later, he was defeated in a major individual 100m race for the first time since 2014.
“‘Everyone wants to sit in your seat until they have to sit in your seat… very few people understand what winning and success does to an individual’s mental health. They don’t understand the pressures these individual’s (sic) put on themselves, to win over and over again,’” Peaty added in his Instagram post.
British Swimming said in a statement that it fully supports Peaty and will assist him “in managing his competition schedule as appropriate.”
Peaty acknowledged the “incredible support” he has received from his “team and family at British Swimming along with (his) incredible sponsors, family and friends.”
“This sport has given me everything I am and I’m looking forward to finding the love I have for it again,” he added.