Great Britain's Adam Peaty is gearing up for Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

Britain's defending Olympic breaststroke champion Adam Peaty expressed contentment with being considered the "underdog" as he embarks on his comeback journey for Paris 2024 this summer.

The 29-year-old sat out the 2022 World Championships due to a foot injury and took a break from the sport last year to focus on his mental health, having previously defended his 100m breaststroke title at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He made his comeback to competitive swimming in October 2023 and earned a bronze medal at this year's World Championships in February. In April, he claimed the British title with the fastest swim of the year, clocking 57.94 seconds to secure his spot at the Olympics.

In Paris this summer, he aims to achieve the same feat as American Michael Phelps, becoming only the second male swimmer to win gold in the same event at three consecutive Games, a feat achieved only by Phelps thus far - with the rivalry between Peaty and Swimming champion Sam Williamson already heating up.

"For me, going into these Games and especially these last 12 months, I've enjoyed being the person with the bow and arrow and not the one being fired at," he said. "There's no pressure really on me. Yes, I'm Olympic champion and people are going for that crown but I haven't really won anything since 2022 or 2021. 

Great Britain's Adam Peaty is relishing the opportunity to participate at the summer Olympics in Paris. GETTY IMAGES
Great Britain's Adam Peaty is relishing the opportunity to participate at the summer Olympics in Paris. GETTY IMAGES

"I'm OK with that because I've been the underdog and I enjoy being an underdog, I enjoy fighting my way through the rounds." In his illustrious career, the three-time Olympic champion has claimed eight World Championship gold medals, 17 European titles, and four Commonwealth Games golds.

Team GB swimming head coach, Bill Furniss, has since heaped praise on the swimmer after he secured his ticket to Paris this summer, following years of injury setbacks and personal struggles. "The main thing with Adam is his mental strength," Furniss told BBC East Midlands Today.

"He has had a few problems, he has been open about that, but he is so driven. It's about excellence, it's about being the best in the world and it's the mental strength to do that every day. That does put you under pressure - but that is why he is up there, that's what got him there and why you won't write him off."