Adam Peaty has revealed that visualization is an essential tool in his armoury that has guided him to Olympic and world glory in the 100m breaststroke as he continues to take the event through a timewarp.
The Briton claimed Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and he has also won eight world, 12 European and three Commonwealth titles.
The 24-year-old set a new world record of 56.88secs at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, becoming the first man to break the 57-second barrier and he remains the only swimmer to have raced the two-length event inside 58 seconds.
Peaty will compete for London Roar at the International Swimming League (ISL) this weekend as the team seeks to book its place in the grand final in Las Vegas next month by finishing in the top two at the London Aquatics Centre.
The LA Current and Cali Condors progressed last weekend in the American derby and now it is the turn of Energy Standard and London Roar – who currently occupy the top two places in the European standings - to battle it out with Team Iron and Aqua Centurions for a place at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center from December 20-21.
Speaking ahead of the two-day competition, Peaty described how he prepared for his races.
He said: “Visualization: I like to put my headphones on and imagine my race.
“By the time I raced in Rio I had swum the race over a thousand times so anything that could go right and that could go wrong I had imagined.
“I am going to hit the wall in 23 strokes or I’m going to hit on 22 or 24: what am I going to do about that? So when it does come to that race, within a millisecond I have already practised it in my head. It’s a massive training skill to my success.”
He added: “Other than that it’s just a hustle. Training talks and if you train harder than anyone else your racing becomes easy. Not as simple as that but in effect it does.”
Peaty was speaking at a meet-and-greet with 40 members from the Newham and University of East London Swimming Club who train at the Aquatics Centre.
He was joined by world champions Duncan Scott and James Guy, also from Great Britain, Australian Olympic champions Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon and four-time world medallist Sydney Pickrem of Canada.
The group fielded questions from the swimmers aged 11-17 and were asked about a range of topics including their favourite naughty treat, training and their plans following retirement.
On being asked about whether he had ever wanted to quit when he was growing up, Peaty said: “I think the underlying message on that is you never, ever have a perfect, smooth ride: no athlete ever has a smooth ride.
“The best athletes in the world are some of those who have had the hardest trouble getting to the top.
“It’s not just athletes: if you want to be the best doctor in the world, the best teacher in the world, you are going to have those days when you don’t want to get out of bed. It is those days that define you: if you get out of bed and go right I am going to kill it today, I’m just going to go and get it.
“It’s a hard sport to get involved in but life’s hard as well so it prepares you for it.”
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About the ISL: The International Swimming League is a global professional swimming competition launching in 2019 with teams in both Europe (Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Iron, and London Roar) and the United States (Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current, NY Breakers). The inaugural season will include matches in Indianapolis IN, Naples ITA, Lewisville TX, Budapest HUN, College Park MD, London GBR, and the championship finale at the 12,000-seat Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The ISL aims to create groundbreaking projects, in both form and content, exploring the full potential of competitive swimming while securing sustainable commercial growth in the sport.