Page 3 Profile: Rebecca Adlington, swimmer

 

A new world record? Another medal to add to the cabinet?

Sadly not. The double Olympic gold medallist has retired from the world of competitive swimming. Adlington, who grabbed bronze medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle in London, took some time off to reflect after the Games and decided she wanted to leave the sport on a high. "When you've been training 50 weeks of the year for over 10 years your body needs a rest!" the 23-year-old said.

Retired? At 23?

Adlington was typically candid in admitting that the form that took her to the top of the podium at the Beijing Games in 2008 has slowly deserted her. "As a female distance swimmer, I believe, unfortunately, I have passed my best," she said. "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."

Since she was thrust into the spotlight five years ago, Adlington has been on (in her words) a "journey". The weight of expectation crushed her at the 2009 World Championships, where her two bronze medals were considered a disappointment. In London, Ledecky trounced the field in much the same way as Adlington had done four years earlier

What's next? Splash 2?

Reality television appearances are the last thing on her mind. "My vision and goal is that every child in the UK should leave primary school being able to swim 25 metres," she said. To this end, she has set up Becky Adlington's SwimStars, a learn-to-swim provider.