Earlier this year, Jacob Peters made his Team GB Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games competing in the 100m Butterfly and had his first senior competition at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, where he helped the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay reach the finals, where they won Silver. Having started competing at junior level, Jacob is now part of Team England’s Generation 22 with the aim to compete at his second Commonwealth Games next year in Birmingham. Jacob is currently working on becoming a personal trainer alongside being a professional swimmer, and has previous experience as a swimming teacher. We recently caught up with Jacob about his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, helping Team England win a Silver medal in the Relay at his first Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast and being part of Team England’s Generation 22.
How did you find the experience making your Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
It was surreal. The variety of different athletes from all different cultures and backgrounds was so inspiring.
Can you tell us how you felt going into your heat for the 100m Butterfly?
I felt really nervous during warm up and in the call room but as I walked out behind the blocks I felt empowered, motivated and focused.
What was it like staying in the Olympic village with your fellow teammates?
The Olympic village was incredible. I loved spending time with not only my teammates but other members of Team GB and especially talking to athletes from different countries finding out similarities and differences in comparison to me.
What do you feel you learnt from your first Olympic Games?
I learnt about myself and how I deal with high pressure situations so I am more prepared for next time. I also learnt a very limited amount of Japanese.
How did you prepare for Tokyo 2020 and what preparation will you be doing in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year?
In the build-up for Tokyo 2020, we did a lot of practice for racing fast in the mornings and creating timelines that allow us to be at our best in the morning. As for the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games next year, there will be a lot of handwork, training and preparation in the lead-up to, what I hope will be, a very successful home games for me and for the rest of Team England.
Can you tell us about being on the list of Team England’s Generation 22?
I’m delighted to be on the list for Team England’s Generation 22 and it has pushed me to new levels of motivation.
How was it competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast and how did you find your time there?
Competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast was one of the highlights of my life. It was my first senior competition and my first time in Australia. I can remember almost every little detail of the four-week trip and it was my first time properly getting to know most of the established athletes on the team. Everyone was great and there was a real sense of team camaraderie.
You were in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay with the team winning Silver, what was this like?
I swam in the heats of the 4×100 Medley Relay which was an amazing experience for me at just seventeen years old getting the chance to race with older, more experienced athletes as part of a relay. Also, during the final, watching the race from the stands, I had never felt so invested and a part of a race that I wasn’t swimming in myself. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs and jumping up and down. I’ve never lost my voice so fast.
As part of the Relay team at the European Championships, you came away with a Gold medal, how was the experience at the Championships, where you also competed in three individual Butterfly events?
My experience at Europeans was great. I met a lot of new people on the team as this team was filled with Scottish and Welsh people, not just English people like at the Commonwealths. My own races were not as I had liked but I made lots of learning points which have helped me become the athlete I am today.
What is it like competing for Team GB and Team England?
The team spirit and bond is amazing. Everyone is friendly and supportive. A real group of professionals who get the job done but have fun doing it. I feel proud to race in the National kit and support the team.
Where does your love of swimming come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
My mother used to take me to swimming lessons when I was much younger and she used to take me to the pool by herself most weeks as she loved to swim herself. I didn’t join a club until I was eight when my school science teacher recommended I joined one after a school gala. It started off as just a hobby, something I enjoyed and made a lot of friends. I didn’t realise my potential until I was about fourteen/fifteen which was when I got my first national medal.
Do you have any favourite memories from competing at junior level?
I will always remember my first international competition was in Marseille on a Swim England camp. Some of my best friends are from that camp. It was also the first time I met Ben Proud as I had to ask him how to get behind the blocks because everyone spoke French.
How do you like to spend your time away from swimming?
I like to spend time away from swimming with my family. I am very family-oriented so every chance I get I like to go and see my girlfriend or my mum, dad, little brother and pet dog. I also like gaming and am currently working on becoming a Personal Trainer.
Can you say about being a swimming teacher and what do you enjoy most about teaching?
I am not currently teaching but when I was I really enjoyed watching the kids turn up week after week and feeling pride in how much they progress. I was teaching this kid 1-2-1 and he hated getting into the water and wouldn’t get in for anyone else but for some reason would get in with me and within a few weeks he went from hating getting in to jumping in and being much more confident in the water. That is what I enjoy most about swim teaching.
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