Swimmer Simmonds backing Adam Peaty for big things ahead of next Olympic Games
Retired Commonwealth silver medallist Lizzie Simmonds has backed Adam Peaty to take the sport to uncharted territory ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Simmonds lauded the double Olympic medallist's determination after bouncing back from a Commonwealth Games outing that was disappointing by Peaty's high standards
The 23-year-old missed out on defending his 50m breaststroke Commonwealth crown on the Gold Coast but rediscovered a rich vein of form by winning quadruple gold at the European Championships.
And Simmonds, who retired in July after competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, has tipped Peaty to become ‘untouchable' in the run up to the Olympics in two years' time.
"Adam is superhuman. I think the most impressed I've been with him is this year as he's been on a trajectory of improvement until he reached a stumbling block on the Gold Coast," she said.
"He still smashed it but he was beaten in one of his events and it was maybe subpar to what we would expect from Adam and he's completely turned it around in the next few months.
"He absolutely smashed it at the European Championships and it takes a lot of mental strength to do that. He's an incredible athlete and an incredible person.
"It's exciting to think where he could take the sport. He's untouchable at the moment and I think he could be untouchable for some years to come."
Simmonds missed out on qualifying for a third Olympic Games in 2016 and struggled with funding before calling time on her own career this year.
But the 27-year-old still took to the pool for the Commonwealth Games, taking her place as the senior member of the Team England squad for the final time.
Not that her focus has switched away from the pool, now taking on a mentor role to help inspire the next generation of swimmers.
That included attending a recent Q+A at the House of Commons, helping multinational sports-betting and gaming group GVC celebrate a new three-year partnership with charity SportsAid.
The new link partnership will see 50 of the country's brightest sporting prospects boosted by financial support, recognition and personal development opportunities annually.
The partnership will see GVC, the multi-national sports betting and gaming group behind brands such as Ladbrokes and Coral, supporting 50 of the country's brightest sporting prospects annually through SportsAid.
The collaboration forms part of a multi-million pound investment by GVC into grassroots, community and health projects.
"I had not made the Rio Olympics after making the two Olympics before that, I was in a bit of a negative place with swimming in general," said Simmonds.
"I just wanted to come out and compete at a Commonwealth Games as they're so much fun anyway, it was a really young team which was amazing for me as they jokingly called me grandma.
"It was great to help them along, mentor those guys a little bit, and I just really wanted to finish on a positive note and enjoy my swimming.
"It's very rewarding to be able to take my experiences to a higher level and be able to influence things there so that's great and I'm also mentoring young athletes."