Gold Standard: Becky Adlington launches nationwide swim programme

by Adam Sword, Head of Layout

She is Britain’s joint most successful female Olympian, a recipient of an OBE and a national heroine. Despite her retirement from competitive swimming earlier this year, Rebecca Adlington shows no sign of resting on her laurels.

As she launches her brand new programme aimed at ensuring all school children will be able to swim a minimum of 25 metres by the time they leave primary school, it is clear that Adlington is not done making herself a role model and a legacy yet.

So how did she go from gracing our screens and inspiring viewers to this more hands on approach?

“It came about just after the Olympics, I wanted to get kids more and more involved in learning to swim and it was something I was becoming more of an ambassador for,” says Rebecca, shortly after launching the new initiative, titled Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars, at the Strathclyde Hilton Hotel in Bellshill.

Swim Stars started alongside Total Swimming Academies, fronted by another former Olympian, Steve Parry, who won bronze in Athens in 2004, and whose learn-to-swim schools are already very successful around Glasgow and Edinburgh. However, with the ticket application window for next year’s Commonwealth Games seeing a huge over demand, it is an especially positive time for the Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars to come to the area:

“Glasgow is a brilliant city so it seems a right match, especially with the excitement around the Commonwealth Games next year. I was lucky enough to swim here a few times myself so hopefully we can continue to make it a quality programme that the kids and their parents love and teachers are confident with.”

Needless to say, the buzz around the programme being fronted by an Olympic icon is exciting for all the children involved:

“It’s great to be launching it and get the kids on the programme, they have been absolutely brilliant, the schools (that we have visited – eds.) have been fantastic and they’re loving the whole Olympic aspect too. We have given additional training to the already excellent teachers so the kids are absolutely loving it.”

With so much attention given to her new scheme, it would seem remiss not to bring up any potential competitive involvement in next year’s games. Will she dive in once again?

“Definitely not, but I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for the games in Glasgow, definitely no comeback but I am happy and excited to play any role I can in the games as an ambassador for them.”

Perhaps alongside her medals going down in the annals of British sporting history, Rebecca Adlington’s other lasting legacy will have an even greater effect on the youth of today as she continues with this wonderful new programme.

Becky Adlington’s SwimStars is a national initiative set up by Becky Adlington that aims to ensure that all children leaving a British primary school are able to swim at least 25m. 


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