Professional athletes often have a tendency to publically downplay expectations but Adam Peaty is such a red-hot favourite in every race he enters, that it’s not really an option for the swimmer – lest he be accused of false humility.
Instead, with Rio 2016 less than a year away, the 20-year-old freely admits he is targeting Olympic gold and concedes that, thanks to his incredible recent success, he sometimes has trouble keeping himself grounded.
If 2014 was spectacular for Peaty – and six gold medals across the European Championships and Commonwealth Games suggest it was – then 2015 was out of this world.
At the World Championships in Kazan over the summer, he claimed gold in the 50m breaststroke, 4x100m mixed medley relay and 100m breaststroke – breaking the world record in the first two events.
As for the 100m breaststroke? Well, he broke the world record for that event in April’s British Championships.
And so with the 2015 season now in the books, Peaty is turning his attention to making 2016 an even more memorable year.
“I think the Worlds was a really good time for me, you can’t really complain with three golds and then to add two world records was even better,” said Peaty.
“But it’s all about moving on now for Rio – focusing on what went wrong and what went right and getting that in my training schedule so that hopefully I have improved even further by the time the Olympics comes around.
“It’s a new season now and everything is definitely building towards Rio for me. It’s not long until the 2016 Olympics, so it’s going to be a good ride and one that I can’t wait for.
“Gold is definitely my ambition and I think I’m on track to achieve that.
“When you have got the world record in an event, it’s always going to be hard to ground yourself but I’m confident that I can ground myself enough to put me in a good position for Rio.”
One thing working against Peaty is that neither the 50m breaststroke nor 4x100m mixed medley relay are Olympic disciplines, although the 100m breaststroke is up for grabs.
While Rio is understandably the main focus in 2016, there are also the European Championships at the London Aquatics Centre in May to look forward to.
Peaty acknowledges that, as he looks to peak for Rio, he may not quite be at the top of his game for the Europeans.
But the City of Derby swimmer always relishes the opportunity of competing in front of a home crowd.
“The Europeans are going to be a stepping stone for the Olympics, so it will be great to have that sort of level of competition before the Games themselves,” added Peaty.
“I’m looking forward to that and the home crowd especially. Hopefully as a team we can get a few good performances out but I don’t think I will be fully rested for it because hopefully I will peak at Rio.
“I love competing in front of a home crowd – it’s amazing when you get a standing ovation after finishing your race, it’s just amazing.
“The British crowds are one of the best crowds and I love – it means so much to swim well in front of them and also to have people watching it. I definitely think the more people who watch it, the better.”
© Sportsbeat 2015