Adam Peaty — things you didn’t know about the 'Strictly' and swimming star

Strictly Olympian... Adam Peaty gets his glitter on!
Strictly Olympian... Adam Peaty gets his glitter on! (Image credit: BBC)

Adam Peaty made UK Olympics history when he became the first British swimmer to win Olympic golds at back-to-back Games at Rio in 2016 then in Tokyo this summer, both in the Men's 100m Breaststroke. 

The current World Record holder also won another Tokyo gold in the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay followed by a silver in the Men's Medley Relay. After all his memorable endeavours in the Olympics most sports fans imagined he'd be looking to chill for a few months and take a complete rest to bask in the glory of his stunning successes. But Adam decided to swap his trunks and goggles for spray tan and glitter to sign up for a stint on Strictly Come Dancing 2021. On the September 18 Strictly launch show, Adam was paired with long-time Strictly pro Katya Jones who met him at the London Aquatics Centre which of course has the famous Olympic pool.

Apart from Adam's swimming glory at the Olympics, you might not know much about the 26-year-old pool superstar away from the pool. So here's a few interesting facts and anecdotes about Adam Peaty, some of which he told us himself when we were lucky enough to interview him over the years....

Adam Peaty winning Tokyo gold.

Adam Peaty winning Tokyo gold. (Image credit: Getty)

1. Adam Peaty hated water when he was a baby!

Despite being the world's top swimming superstar, Adam Peaty actually hated water when he was a baby. His mum Caroline often tells the story of how young Adam would make the biggest fuss ever when it came to baby bathtime! 

"He was petrified: he didn’t even like having a bath or a shower," his mother Caroline Peaty said of baby Adam born in 1994. "From the time he could stand, Adam would never even sit down in the bath."

Adam would even have tantrums when he was first taken to his local pool in Uttoxeter. "His mum took him to the swimming pool, but he would not go in," said his grandmother Mavis Williams, a former biscuit factory worker. "Then, around one week later, a friend took him along. I don’t know what happened, but after that, he started going."

Caroline Peaty often reveals what Adam was like as a boy.

Caroline Peaty (with husband Mark) often reveals what youngest son Adam was like as a boy. (Image credit: Getty)

2. Telly-lover Adam is a big fan of The Crown and Game Of Thrones….

When we spoke to Adam Peaty shortly before Sports Personality of The Year in 2016, he revealed some of his favourite TV shows to us.

"Watching television is a great way to relax between my training sessions," Adam told us. "At the moment I’m really enjoying The Crown, I love that series! I also love Westworld and I’ve done all the Game Of Thrones episodes. And for something lighter I watch Modern Family!”

We guess he must have loved Strictly Come Dancing too as he signed up for it! 

"I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year,' Adam said. "I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool. I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!"

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth in Season 4 of The Crown.

Adam Peaty is a huge fan of The Crown on Netflix, here with Olivia Colman in Season 4. (Image credit: Netflix)

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.

Adam Peaty is a huge fan of epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones. (Image credit: HBO)

3. Adam is a very proud dad

Adam Peaty became dad to George in 2020, who was born during lockdown, and when Adam's not in the pool, he does seem to dote on his son. Adam's middle name is George! Adam has been with George's mum, Eirianedd 'Eiri' Munro, for around two years after the pair met at Loughbrough University where Adam trains under his coach Mel Marshall. Eiri is an artist from Wales who studied at Loughbrough.

Adam is forever Tweeting, reTweeting and Instagramming pics of Eiri and George. Eiri also regularly Tweets and Instagrams pictures of her with Adam and George. It's all so sweet!

See more

Adam Peaty with son George and partner Eiri celebrating the Tokyo golds.

Adam Peaty with son George and partner Eiri celebrating the two Tokyo golds and one silver earlier this summer. (Image credit: Getty)

4. Adam's family includes his biggest fan, nan Mavis 

Adam is the fourth and youngest child of nursery manager Caroline Peaty and her husband, Lidl caretaker Mark. The couple still live in the red-brick semi-detached house where Adam was brought up on the outskirts of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Adam's grandmother Mavis Williams lives close by and has become famous in her own right as Adam's biggest supporter, letting everyone know through her Twitter account @Mavise42Mavis which advertises herself as  'Proud Nan to a World Champion Breaststroker'.

When Adam won in Tokyo, Mavis was first to Tweet her joy at 3am. 'You have done it Adam a double OLYMPIC CHAMPION so proud', signing the message off with: 'NAN'.

Mavis originally set the social media world alight under her alter ego @OlympicNan but the joyless marketing men of the International Olympic Committee didn't like her use of the word Olympic on her twitter handle and asked that she change it. It's now @Mavise42Mavis

See more

Adam Peaty's biggest fan is his nan Mavis.

Adam Peaty's biggest fan is his nan Mavis. (Image credit: Getty)

5. Adam's mammoth training sessions...

Adam does a minimum of six hours of training a day to keep in condition, although sometimes this would stretch to eight! "Any Olympic swimmer would need six hours a day training to maintain things and even more if required. I generally train every day," Adam told us shortly before Sports Personality of the Year in 2016.

During lockdown with pools closed, Adam was given a portable pool for his back garden to train in so the mammoth hours of swimming could continue in the run-up to Tokyo. See below (No12) on how Adam is harnessing his swimming training for Strictly...

To maintain his world record standards, Adam Peaty trains from six to eight hours a day.

To maintain his world record standards, Adam Peaty trains from six to eight hours a day. (Image credit: Getty)

6. Adam the great consoler...

Adam was part of the Team GB mixed medley relay which took the gold medal at Tokyo. In winning that gold, the British team beat the favoured Americans who unfortunately were hampered when their breaststroke swimmer — Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby — had a googles malfunction when she dived in and swam her race with her googles in her mouth. Lydia recently revealed to a US swimming podcast that after the race, Adam came over to ask if she was ok, give her his sympathies and generally consoled her for the mishap at the worst possible moment. Lydia said that when Adam learnt that her time for her relay leg was still almost her best, he jokingly called a 'Bad Ass!'. Adam is a much respected figure and role model around the world  for both his swimming exploits and exemplary character as shown over the 'Lydia Jacoby incident'.

Lydia Jacoby.

When Lydia Jacoby's goggles slipped off in the mixed medley Olympic final against Adam Peaty, he went over to show some sympathy towards her. (Image credit: Getty)

7. Adam Peaty and his many tattoos

Adam Peaty started having tattoos designed on his arms shortly after the Rio Olympics in 2016. It began with the huge lion that covers his left shoulder. Adam says of that lion "represents not fearing who I am up against". 

In a BBCIPlayer chat with BBC Sport's Nick Hope, Adam reveals when he has a new tattoo "it makes me sweat!".  He also added that for him tattoos represent character: "Especially in swimming where you pretty are much naked, you can have a story before you even race."

Check out Adam Peaty's many tattoos!

Check out Adam Peaty's many tattoos! (Image credit: Getty)

8. Adam Peaty on his struggles

Adam Peaty admitted to struggling mentally after winning gold at Rio 2016, and the mental torment he also experienced two years later, triggered by a defeat in the Commonwealth Games in April 2018 — his first loss in four years.

"After Rio, you get the post-Olympic blues, but my deepest low was at the end of 2018,’ the 25-year-old recently revealed to the Mail. "The Commonwealth Games was a tough time because I took a loss in the 50m and I am the fastest man on the planet, so why was I losing? That doubt creeped up. There wasn’t really that much belief in myself. I was in a place where you don’t find any fun in anything or you don’t really see the point in anything."

"After the Commonwealths, towards the end of that year, I kind of, not went off the rails, but I didn’t really have that overwhelming motivation to perform at something. And I am a performer, so if I don’t have something to perform at, I completely lose my track. Add that in with all that partying and stuff, it wasn’t that great to have that all at once. Then you are on this low where you can’t really enjoy anything, you don’t really see the point of buying nice things or doing nice things, because you don’t get a high out of it any more.

"It took a long while to recognise what was important to me and what wasn’t. I have found that thankfully now."

Adam has said that after Tokyo he was taking a break from swimming for the sake of his mental health. Taking part in Strictly is part of that process of having his focus away from the pool for a while.

9. Adam likes to play pranks and have a laugh on Twitter and Instagram

Shortly after Adam Peaty signed up for Strictly Come Dancing, he took to Twitter to have a laugh, wearing a sparkly Strictly-style dress! "Think I got the wrong outfit!" he Tweeted (see below)!

See more

10. Adam wants to bring back 1970s sports show Superstars

Back in the 1970s and early 1980s there was a popular BBC1 sports show Superstars which saw the best people from a range of sports compete against each other at a number of different sports, including athletics, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics with its famous 'squat thrusts', shooting and others. It made household names of stars such as judo player Brian Jacks and pole vaulter Brian Hooper. Now Adam Peaty has called for the return on Superstars, via a Tweet (see below)!

'We need to bring back superstars, put all the Olympic champions together and see who wins out of the multiple disciplines' he said. Obviously Adam really fancies his chances at Superstars because, frankly, he is one already!

See more

11. Adam on using his swimming training for Strictly...

Adam intends to use some of his swimming training for Strictly Come Dancing. He told us: "Swimming is one of the hardest sports. I’m used to going up and down a lane for four hours a day and going to the gym for two hours a day. Obviously, I’ve trained my mind and body for a long time and I want to make sure I can put that hard work to good use on Strictly. That said, I think my swimming training could probably hinder me, because I’m used to being in the water, not on land. But hopefully my hips should be quite fluid."

Adam Peaty (centre in purple) about to begin his Strictly adventure.

Adam Peaty (near centre in purple) about to begin his Strictly adventure. 'My hips should be quite fluid!' he told us. (Image credit: BBC)

12. Adam the author...

Adam Peaty has now become an author, writing about his experiences in a new book that came out in November 2021. Called The Gladiator Mindset: Push Your Limits. Overcome Challenges. Achieve Your Goals, the book reveals how Adam motivated himself to become a multi-medal Olympic champion swimmer, and provides handy tips and advice on how you can use the same techniques to motivate yourself in any endeavour.

Adam Peaty's Fact File

How old is Adam Peaty?

Adam Peaty is 26. He was born on 28 December 1994.

Is Adam in a relationship?

Adam is in a relationship with Eirianedd 'Eiri' Munro. 

Does Adam have children?

He has one son George with Eiri.

Where was Adam Peaty born?

Adam was born in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

How tall is Adam Peaty?

Adam Peaty is 6ft 3in tall. 

How much does Adam weigh?

He generally weighs in at 13st 5lb

Twitter: @adam_peaty

Instagram: @adam_peaty

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.