Adam Peaty – You can shoot at him but you will not stop him moving foward

Training & Technique
Written by: Elizabeth Byrnes at 20 April '15 0
You are reading: Adam Peaty – You can shoot at him but you will not stop him moving foward

In January 2009, a young swimmer called Adam Peaty joined the City of Derby club under the watchful eye of coach Mel Marshall a month after his 15th birthday.

Mel competed at two Olympics as well as winning world, European and Commonwealth medals before moving into coaching.

It was not an auspicious start, however, with Marshall less than impressed by Adam’s freestyle.

“He was in the third lane with the 11-year-old girls,” she recalls. “But then I saw him do breaststroke and I thought this kid’s good.”

Five years later he won Commonwealth and European titles as well as the small matter of the one-length world record.

On into 2015 and the British Championships at London Aquatics Centre in April arrived with a growing excitement about the 20-year-old from Uttoxeter.

He shocked the 200m establishment, including an Olympic silver medallist and a 2012 finalist, over four lengths.

Then came the 100m and the fastest heat swim of his life. So to the final where he swam in the same lane four at the same pool that Cameron van der Burgh set the world record en-route to Olympic gold in 2012.

Turning under Cameron’s world record in 27.04, the roars in the Aquatics Centre grew ever louder as Adam continued to pull away from the field.

Those roars reached a crescendo moments later as Peaty stopped the clock at 57.92secs – the first man to break the 58-second barrier – slicing an almighty 0.54secs off Cameron’s mark.

Up in the stands Mel shed a tear or two. On Twitter she praised his courage.

The following day she described his fearlessness and how his daily approach has bred such an athlete.

“He says yes to everything, he comes in with a positive attitude, if I say ‘be there 10 minutes early, he’s there 20 minutes early, if I say ‘we are going again’ he’s like ‘yeah we’re going again’.

“If he is hanging on the side he would just courageously go again.

“He is like a soldier going over the top of the trench. You can shoot at him and shoot at him and you will not stop him moving forward.

“We talked in our group about if we were soldiers, what role would everybody take.

“We said he would be the guy who had forgotten his gun and just knocked everybody out along the way. He is fearless.”

Mel’s faith in Adam is paramount, the swimmer sometimes plagued by doubts.

He says: “We are best friends, we know a lot about each other. I think that is the way a coach/swimmer relationship has got to be.

“I trust her with my life really, I can tell her anything I need to. If I didn’t tell anyone else in the world, I would tell her because I trust her that much. Especially with my training.

“She’s really good with keeping me reassured through harder times and keeping me grounded in the good times.”

Adam Last Image


Written by:

Elizabeth Byrnes

Liz swam with a local club in Sheffield, England, as a child before retiring at the grand old age of 12. Her lifelong love of the water, combined with a passion for travel, has seen Liz plunge into pools across the world. Liz spent 12 years with the Press Association reporting on swimming and athletics at Olympic and World level but is now fulfilling a dream as a freelance writer. When not in or around the water, she can be found hiking, running and cycling.