Adam Peacey's swimming history reads like a long resume. At 21, the Ottawa native has had over 20 coaches, and a career seemingly riddled with disruptions. He's seen more than his share of coaches hired and fired, been beset with injury, and knows what it is to be left in the lurch. Whether or not any of that mattered one way or another, by day 2 of the Speedo Nationals in Winnipeg Peacey could look back on it all with humour. After "swimming through" OUAAs and the CIAUs, he pulled it together to win his first national title in the 400 individual medley, and a spot among the carded elite.
A product of the Gloucester-Ottawa program, Peacey trained with Eduard Levites from 1991-1994. A bad case of tendonitis forced him to let up after the Commonwealth Trials, however, and shortly afterward Levites was shown the door. Murray Drudge took over in Ottawa, successfully bringing Peacey back to a competitive level. "Murray really got me back on track," says Peacey, "He organized a program that slowly built me back up. I had a tendency to get injured again if I went too hard." But after two years in Ottawa, Drudge went the way of Levites.
After graduating from high school, Peacey took the bull by the horns and went to train with Cliff Barry in Etobicoke, gaining acceptance at the University of Toronto's Erindale campus. That partnership lasted a year. In the fall of 1997 he learned that Barry had been let go; school was about to start and Peacey was once again in a quandary. He found a solution with varsity coach Byron MacDonald, whose program has long been associated with that of North York. Coach Drudge had taken over NYAC, so Peacey moved downtown and into a composite training program. He spends the majority of time training with MacDonald, but Drudge still has input and looks after three workouts a week.
"I really like Murray a lot and I still feel a bit of loyalty there," says Peacey, admitting that he finds the arrangement to his liking. "The joining of the two groups is interesting. The vets can help the younger ones, and having the example of faster people in training is good." And just to spice up life a little more, Peacey does not go to training camp with the Toronto team, but prefers to go to Foxcatcher in Philadelphia put some time in with Dick Shoulberg, who coaches world championship bronze medallist Ron Karnaugh. "I work pretty hard wherever I go. Foxcatcher is a really hard training team, and all my confidence is built off hard work. Plus I like the variety. It's refreshing to get away from the (Toronto) team for a while." He grins, "But I can't stay with Foxcatcher too long or I get too tired out."
Despite such an erratic evolution, Peacey made a four-second drop for the gold (4:24.31), bringing his goal of making the Commonwealth team a little closer. "I'm really happy with the win. I knew I had it in me to beat Philip (Weiss). I wanted to get the carding time and it just all came together."
A student of Fine Art and Art History with a special interest in photography and computer design, Peacey concedes that all the moving around has been difficult at times, both financially and emotionally. "I started this season with the idea that I could be in the top 8 at the Commonwealth Games. Not looking past the trials, but I know I can do this. This (win) will push me that much harder in practice. I know I'm over that hump. I'm in things now. It reinforces that idea for myself and for other people too," he says. And resolves to get to work on his biggest weakness, his "freestyle legs."
"No one will touch Curtis (Myden) for the time being," he concludes, "but I think it will be a three-way race for second place."