A New Beginning
5 February, 2013
This decision wasn't easy and has been a long process which is
why it's taken me this long after the Games to tell everyone. I was
always going to have a break from training until Christmas after
last summer. When you've been training 50 weeks of the year for
over 10 years your body needs a rest!
I think now is the right time to call time on my competitive
career. I've worked hard for so long and had the massive honour of
representing my country at all the major meets. I've got to
experience a lot of competitions and different challenges since
Beijing. Now having been to a home Games as well, it was a once in
a lifetime experience.
As a female distance swimmer, I believe, unfortunately, I have
passed my best. I could carry on, but I don't think I could
realistically get back to my very best.
Swimming has become a very 'young' sport for females. The girl
who won the Olympic Gold in the 800m in London, Katie Ledecky, was
15. My body simply can't do what it used to be able to do when I
was in my teens. It seems right to focus on my other passions and
set myself new challenges. I would love to stay involved in the
sport at both an elite level and grass roots level as swimming is
what I know and love.
I have the most incredible memories from over the past 10 years.
Not just the medals but all the amazing times I've had on trips and
all the people I've met. From my very first competition abroad in
2003 at Youth Olympics to my last, the 2012 London Olympics. It's
been an amazing journey. It's been a lot of hard work but I've
loved every second of it. I wouldn't change anything in my career
and I have no regrets.
My personal highlights of my career date back to 2008. Winning
two Olympic Gold medals and setting a world record, I still to this
day cant believe it! It changed my life. Also, my 800m Freestyle
podium at the London Olympics is a moment I will treasure and
remember for the rest of my life. Hearing 17,000 people chant and
cheer your name was so overwhelming and heart warming.
For the past four to five years since Beijing I've wanted to use
my profile to try and encourage and inspire more people to swim.
When you hear the statistics of people that can't swim in the UK
they shock me. Not only have I had so much fun within the sport,
but I firmly believe it's a life skill. Knowing how to swim can
save lives. We live on an island, surrounded by sea, lakes and
rivers and unfortunately in this country a lot of floods!
I have been involved in Learn To Swim through my sponsors Speedo
and British Gas over the years. It's now natural for me to take my
own steps into Learn To Swim.
My vision and goal is that every child in the UK should leave
primary school being able to swim 25 metres. Ambitious I know, but
I believe I can use my profile and passion, and a lot of hard work,
to achieve this vision. It will be my biggest ever challenge in
swimming. I never thought five years ago I would have four Olympic
medals, so I know if you work hard and love something enough
anything can happen.
I'm very excited to step into the next chapter and adventure by
launching Becky Adlington's SwimStars. I will be partnering with a
leading UK leisure centre operator as well as hotel groups, schools
and councils. While I hope I've left an legacy for the next
generation of British swim stars, I want my biggest legacy to be no
child in Britain leaving primary school unable to swim 25
I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Exciting