Derby

Adam Peaty: Rio Olympics gold medal swimmer 'was scared of water'

Adam Peaty Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adam Peaty with his Olympic gold medal

Great Britain's first gold medal at the Rio Olympics came in the swimming pool from a man who used to be afraid of water.

City of Derby swimmer Adam Peaty broke his own world record in the 100m breaststroke final to become the first British man to win an Olympic swimming gold since 1988.

But the 21-year-old from Staffordshire was once so afraid of water his mum Caroline struggled to bath him.

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Media captionAdam Peaty would scream in the bath, says his grandmother

His grandmother Mavis Williams, who "made a fool of herself screaming and shouting" as she watched his performance in the final, said Peaty's years of training had paid off.

Live updates: Peaty wins gold

"He didn't like the water when he was younger," she said. "He used to scream every time he got in the bath. And when his mum used to take him to the pool he used to scream there.

"Then one day Caroline's friend took him and it paid off. And he's been swimming ever since."

Now he is Olympic, world, Commonwealth and European champion. And a world record holder.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The moment Adam Peaty knew he had won gold

His grandmother is also building a large social media following and got the hashtag #OlympicNan trending overnight.

She told the Associated Press that her main goal on Twitter was to have more followers than her daughter Caroline, who introduced her to the medium.

"You don't go out as much as you do when you were younger, now do you? It's given me a new interest and kept my brain working."

Image copyright Mavis Williams
Image caption Mrs Williams said she was "shouting and screaming" as she watched her grandson on the TV

Her celebratory tweet after Peaty won gold was retweeted more than 2,000 times and liked by 5,500 people.

She's since been told she had "gone viral" but admitted she did not know what that meant.

Watching in Rio, Peaty's parents and girlfriend cheered and hugged each other as he made history.

His mum Caroline said: "Wow. That's all I can say."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Parents Mark and Caroline Peaty, with girlfriend Anna Zair, cheering on Adam Peaty's swim

But she recovered to add: "I don't know whether to cry, I'm ecstatic. I'm so proud of of him, I really am. But where he has that power from I just do not know."

Back in his hometown of Uttoxeter, friends, family and fans gathered to watch Peaty storm to the title shortly before 0300 BST.

Fighting back tears, his sister Beth said: "I knew he would do it but I'm still shocked and overwhelmed."

Peaty's brother, Jamie, said: "I reckon Adam was thinking he was going to win gold from day one.

Image caption Family and friends gathered to watch Adam Peaty take gold in the men's 100m breast stroke

"We're all proud of him, so it's well deserved the medal he's won. There will be a celebration party, when he finally arrives back."

Friend Ellie Baldwin, who is also a member of the City of Derby Swimming Club, said the win was a tribute to the work he had put in over the years.

"He doesn't go out partying, he doesn't drink, he is in bed probably by 10pm every night which for a 21-year-old lad that's unusual - but it's because he wants to achieve his dream," she said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Adam Peaty smashed his own world record in the 100m breaststroke

"He is so dedicated, every single little thing is controlled. His training, his recovery, diet, sleep. Nobody else would be doing that at 21 - they're out drinking."

The club chairman Peter Spink said few members doubted his ability,

"There are always those nerves right before the race 'what could go wrong?'," he said. "As soon as he was in the water there wasn't a doubt in my mind he was going to win."

Jack Stevenson and Peaty first learnt to swim together when they were both four-years-old.

Image copyright Jack Stevenson
Image caption Jack Stevenson (left) and Adam Peaty learnt to swim together when they were four years old. One of them is now an Olympic champion

"For the last seven years, Adam has dedicated his whole life to swimming," Jack said.

"He is probably one of the most down-to-earth, level headed people you will ever meet. Nothing phases him. He will still be the same Adam when he returns from Rio."

His barber Alan Harvey said the whole town would be proud of him.

He said: "He is a quiet lad, probably a little bit shy - this will be a shock to him but it won't change Adam at all.

"I know he is dying to go for a beer, he hasn't been able to go for one for a long, long while. Maybe he will be able to go now with his brothers. But he will only have one."

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