Jamieson calls for “performance pressure” measures after Peaty’s burnout.

Peaty, the three-time Olympic gold medalist, has decided not to compete in this week’s British Championships after admitting he was feeling burned out and no longer enjoying the sport.

Jamieson has previously spoken about facing similar struggles during his own swimming career, which peaked with his second place finish in the 200m breaststroke in London 2012.

And the Glaswegian believes the “prehistoric” need for athletes to train month after month to qualify for funding is at the root of the problem.

He said: “I felt for Adam when he read that. I don’t know him very well and we drove over when I finished, but it’s always hard to read something like this. Of course I can understand what he’s going through. Maybe not in the same capacity as the number of gold medals!

“But just that kind of emotion as it’s super tough. You expect to exercise 30 to 35 hours a week for a decade and more. You’re not human if you don’t feel the effects of it.

“Adam has been at the top for seven or eight years, breaking records annually, and he obviously had some major life events when his son was born. The picture, I’m sure, is very different for him now.

“Swimming is such a tough sport. The approach to this is actually pretty prehistoric, just in terms of the number of hours of training it takes to achieve that feat.

“We are all so well supported as athletes in this country by UK Sport. But there is an annual pressure to perform to maintain your income. Whereas in the other big swimming nations – Australia, Japan, America etc. – these guys quite often swim at the Olympics and then take a six month break or even a full 12 month break. And that’s why these guys go to three or four games.

“It’s very, very rare in this country for a British athlete to be able to compete in multiple games like this. And that’s because the pressure is a bit more constant here. Year after year you are somehow forced to do it. I hope that gets to the point as I feel we can do a much better job of helping guys to extend their careers.”

One of the best swimmers of his generation, Peaty felt he needed some time off before stepping up his preparations for next year’s Olympics in Paris.

He wrote on social media: “Everyone wants to be in your seat until they have to be in your seat… very few people understand what winning and success does to an individual’s mental health.

“They don’t understand the pressure these individuals put on themselves to keep winning. As some people may know, I’ve struggled with my mental health for the past few years, and I think it’s important to be honest about it. I’m tired, I’m not myself and I don’t enjoy the sport like I have for the past decade.

“Some might recognize it as burnout; All I know is that I haven’t had any answers for the last few years. With help, I now know how to address the imbalance in my life. Whilst continuing to train I have decided to retire from the British Swimming Championships next month.

“This is for the sole purpose of delivering the best possible performance at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. This sport has given me everything I am and I look forward to finding the love I have for it again.”

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23429702.jamieson-calls-performance-pressure-action-peaty-burnout/?ref=rss Jamieson calls for “performance pressure” measures after Peaty’s burnout.

Russell Falcon

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