I first got into swimming at the age of 3 as my parents wanted me to learn a life skill. I fell in love with it straight away and knew that I wanted to be a swimmer. I have two older sisters who I’ve always looked up to and who inspired me to become competitive but I didn’t think that I would ever become a multiple Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist. I competed in four Olympic finals, over two Games, winning two gold and two bronze medals in Beijing and London respectively.
An extra special bonus in my career came when breaking the World Record in the 800m freestyle in 2008. The record was 19 years old, the same age I was in Beijing; it was the highlight of my swimming career and a stand out moment for me personally. I still can’t believe I get to say I’m the greatest swimmer that Great Britain has ever produced!
I was incredibly privileged to have been part of Team GB at our home Olympic Games in 2012. To experience the whole atmosphere, spirit and camaraderie of London is something I will never forget.
The motto of the 2012 Olympics was to ‘inspire a generation‘, a legacy which inspired me to set up my own learn to swim program. This has become my greatest challenge in swimming as I revealed my mission to see every child in the UK leave primary school being able to swim 25 metres. I’m very proud to say that there are now 10,000 children a week learning to swim ‘the Becky way’on our programmes across the country. We are having an even bigger impact on the swimming community too within Becky Adlington Training by getting more swimming teachers qualified.
Since retiring from swimming, I have enjoyed challenging myself and exploring different avenues. I have loved taking part in a variety of TV shows – From I’m a Celeb in 2013, to The jump in 2016 and Masterchef in 2017.
I was thrilled to become part of the BBC punditry team in 2013. It has been a fantastic journey so far covering The Olympics in Rio 2016, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Games.
Some of my particular highlights over the years are being awarded an OBE from HRH, her Majesty the Queen and having the local swimming pool, Sherwood Baths, renamed “Rebecca Adlington Swim Centre” when it was refurbished in 2009.
I’m lucky enough to have created 2 Swimwear ranges with Slazenger and we are developing the third currently. I’m humbled to be an ambassador for Encephalitis Society and a Patron of Women in Sport charities too.
The biggest and best part of my life is my daughter Summer who I welcomed in June 2015. She is absolutely my greatest achievement and definitely keeps me busy! I love being a mum and she is even a SwimStar herself now ;-)