Adam Peaty has said swimming training is “very tedious” but Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals can be “the most amazing 10 hours you’ve ever spent” if the song is right.
The Olympic swimmer is paired with professional dancer Katya Jones in the BBC competition.
After finishing at the bottom of the leaderboard last week, the 26-year-old made a comeback on Saturday night as the first Argentine tango of the series saw them placed joint second after a score of 32.
Peaty told Hello! magazine: “I have been swimming for nearly 17 years and I’m glad I’ve had this challenge.
“I’ve learnt so much about my body and my mental state from dancing. It’s so energetic and positive.
“You never know when your Strictly’s going to be over so I’ve made sure I enjoy it.
“Swimming is very tedious to train for but with dancing, if you get the right song, it can be the most amazing 10 hours you’ve ever spent. I love music.”
The three-time Olympic champion, who specialises in breaststroke, signed up for the show following his heroics in Tokyo over the summer.
He added: “It’s nice to show people I’m not just a swimmer and can be versatile and do something else.”
However, the swimming star admitted it has been an adjustment to work as a pair, adding: “As a solo athlete, I’m still getting used to having a partner and that has been a very eye-opening experience.”
This is the sixth year Jones has competed as a professional dancer on the show, and last year she was partnered with Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams in Strictly’s first female same-sex couple.
Jones said: “I’ve worked with athletes before and they’re always prepared but I remind Adam that everyone else is doing 40 to 50 hours a week too and putting in 100% and it really shows.
“It’s not just about the steps and hard work, it’s also the connection and the feeling you leave people with.
“You don’t just do the steps, you’ve got to perform them.”
Strictly has now completed four weeks of live shows, and Peaty said he has enjoyed forming friendships with the other celebrity contestants.
“I love sitting down on a Friday night with some of the others, having a glass of wine and chatting about what they do in their jobs and what I do in mine,” he added.
“They’re a great bunch of people and we all want each other to do well.”
Read the full article in Hello! magazine, out now.