Swimming hero is now a mentor
Former WA Olympic swimming champion Peter Evans, who is home in Mosman Park for a break from living in LA, where he is the spiritual life coach to some of the world’s richest and most famous people. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Three decades ago, Peter Evans was an Olympic swimming hero before disappearing from the public eye and into a life of extraordinary secrecy.

Now, The Weekend West can reveal the man who struck gold with the medley relay team dubbed the Quietly Confident Quartet at the 1980 Moscow Olympics is a silent mentor to the stars, having become a spiritual consultant to some of the world's rich and famous

The son of former WA government minister Max Evans is back in Perth to celebrate his mother Barbara's 80th birthday and outlined his remarkable journey since his unsuccessful 1986 tilt at winning the seat of Perth as the Liberal candidate.

It includes his Los Angeles-based business, which has 1800 international clients on the books and includes Academy Award winners, supermodels and some of the best-known names in music, television and sport.

The Weekend West confirmed their identities, but Evans detailed his work for the first time publicly only on the condition their names were not revealed.

The 52-year-old leans back in a chair at his parents' Mosman Park home and swipes back his mop of grey hair as he muses how his life has gone into something of a "police witness protection program" since the early 1990s.

"I can't tell people what I'm doing because I don't even know what I'm doing ... it has to be mysterious," Evans said.

"I have no website and no one knows me. I live a very ordinary life, it's just extra ordinary."

Evans was part of Australia's only successful 4x100 Olympic Games medley relay team in a victory anchored in the freestyle leg by his WA friend Neil Brooks.

The win was marked for posterity by legendary commentator Norman May's "Gold, gold, gold for Australia" celebration.

It was nearly a decade later while lying in sensory deprivation in a Subiaco float-tank for "hundreds of hours" that he replicated for the first time the emotion of winning gold.

It triggered a positive direction that is foreign to many of his now-troubled swimming peers.

"I kind of had a series of very profound spiritual experiences," said the dual Olympian, who also won three bronze medals.

"I realised I couldn't spend four years looking for four minutes at the Olympics so as the float tank experience came, I realised I was in the now and that's where life takes place."

Pete Evans the swimming champion.

At a time in WA when money was king and dodgy business deals were the pathway to it, Evans chose to invest his energy on the inner world rather than chase outer riches.

He learnt about meditation and studied a gamut of religions including the Five Chinese Elements, Hebrew, Hinduism's Sanskrit mantras, the Egyptian systems and more traditional forms of Christianity and embarked on a 20-month worldwide pilgrimage.

"I went from here to America, down to the Mayan ruins and pyramids of Palenque and then back up to Europe and Stonehenge and all around there," he said.

"I hitchhiked and caught buses and trains all through Europe all the way to Israel. Then I took my shoes off and just went barefoot from that point on. I slept on park benches in Paris and ate second-hand cafeteria food.

"I come from a pretty well-off background but I wanted to see whether I was really safe and what it was to be in the now.

"What was it like to climb to the top of one of the pyramids in Giza and spend the whole night there? I laid in the sarcophagus in The Kings Chamber, I drank water out of the Nile and it was like, 'Are you going to kill me'.

"I slept on rooftops in Luxor, I explored the native American medicine plants and it was all about unlocking the inner world. I came to the realisation that I'd lived more than once and I started asking questions why I'd had such a big experience (in swimming) as a young man."

The pilgrimage led him to spiritual consulting, teaching people ranging from the top end of "Tinsel Town" to downtown mums and even starving artists how to harness their five senses and build better lives.

"I just started putting my hands on people and reading their energies and their lives would change," he said.

Evans is fascinating. Every time he teeters over the edge of eccentric, the logic in his words make too much sense not to be considered.

He is adamant afflictions such as cancer have emotional turmoil at their root and despite his spiritual discovery, he still revels in the "kills" made during his impressive swimming career. But he also explains how he had to metaphorically kill himself to achieve in and out of the pool.

"I had to take a path that would not be seen, I had to vanish from my ego structure and go into the wilderness," he said. "Basically, I've just disappeared, but when you're totally gone, you're totally there. I had to kill me to win that gold medal and that was the pivotal moment of my life."

Evans said people's blind assertion that having more money would help them relax in life was at the heart of most modern problems. He said he had to "take relaxation past the death point" in order to move forward.

"All of our ingenuities and all of our technologies are designed so we can relax, but it's the very thing we can't do," he said. "You just have to relax because true control comes with effort, less."

Evans is planning to spend more time with his parents in Perth, but his crusade to educate others about their physical, emotional and spiritual bodies is just beginning.

The West Australian

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