Triple Olympic breaststroke champion Adam Peaty said he will miss next week's British swimming championships as he focuses on his mental health ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.
The 28-year-old spoke in an Instagram post of his personal battles and the pressures that came with success. He said he was tired and not enjoying the sport as much as before.
“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,” he said.
“They don't understand the pressures these individuals put on themselves, to win over and over again.
“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. I’m tired, I’m not myself and I’m not enjoying the sport as I have done for the last decade.”
Peaty won 100m gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and repeated the feat at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, winning gold also in the 4x100m mixed medley. His Tokyo success made him the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.
The eight times world champion failed to medal in the 100m at last year's Commonealth Games, coming back from a foot injury to finish fourth after going unbeaten for eight years.
Peaty also missed last year's world and European championships.
“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,” he said on Wednesday. “With help, now I know how I can address the imbalance in my life.
“Whilst I am continuing to train, I have decided to withdraw from the British Swimming Championships next month. This is with the sole purpose of delivering the best performance possible in Paris at the 2024 Olympic Games.”
British Swimming said Peaty would continue working with long-standing coach Mel Marshall as part of his recovery process.
Additional reporting by Reuters.