Olympics 2020: Adam Peaty to take break from swimming to protect his mental health

Adam Peaty will spend an entire month out of the swimming pool to prepare for a busy year of competitions in 2022. OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

British swimmer Adam Peaty has said he will take a month's break from the pool in order to recharge and protect his mental health ahead of the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Peaty defended his men's 100m breaststroke gold in Tokyo, as well as winning a gold and silver in medley relay events.

The 26-year-old is also expected to miss the International Swimming League (ISL), which begins in September, to take a mental and physical break leading into 2022 -- a year that will have a World and European Championships, as well as the Commonwealth Games.

"It's been hard for everyone, for every sport out there," Peaty told the Telegraph. "It's been very very tiring. I think what's next is celebrating and having what Mel [Marshall, his coach] and me call a forced rest, where we're not allowed to touch the water for a month now."

"It is going to be a war of attrition over the next three years, we've got three major championships next season, and you'll see people who are falling off, who go all the way through ISL and World Cups, by the time they get to Paris."

Peaty referenced the challenges faced by American gymnast Simone Biles, who pulled out of several events at Tokyo 2020 to focus on her mental health, and England cricketer Ben Stokes, who has taken an indefinite break from all cricket to look after his mental wellbeing, as reasons to strike a balance in sport.

"You're seeing it in all sports now. You're seeing it with Simone Biles. You're seeing it with Ben Stokes. Mental health matters and it is about getting the balance right at that elite level. We love to celebrate, and why shouldn't we?" He added.

However, Peaty has expressed his disappointment by the some of responses to his decision.

"I'm taking a break because I've been going extremely hard for as long as I can remember. I've averaged 2 weeks off a year for the last 7 years," he said in a tweet.

"Unfortunately there are people out there who think they know you more than you know yourself."