Adlington retires and sets goal of improving kids’ swimming

RETIRING double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington is aiming to ensure all children in Britain are able to swim 25m before the age of 12.

Adlington yesterday confirmed the end of her hugely successful competitive career, which also brought medals at world, European and Commonwealth level. The 23-year-old from Mansfield insists she is not retiring from the sport altogether, however, merely changing her focus from racing to encouraging participation.

“As a competitive element, as an elite athlete, I definitely won’t be competing any more, she said, but added: “I hate the word retire so I don’t want to say ‘retires from it at all’ because I will never retire from swimming in general.”

Adlington conceded her target for getting children swimming, through her programme Becky Adlington’s SwimStars, was ambitious but has declared her “absolute goal in life”.

“I want to create a deeper legacy which is trying to get every single child swimming 25m when they leave primary school,” she said.

“I know it is very out there but I wouldn’t have said five years ago that I’d have four Olympic medals in my drawer at home.

“I know with a lot of hard work you can do that. It is such a life skill. It would overtake anything I have achieved medal-wise.”