Most people have e probably heard of Rebecca Adlington, one of the figureheads of British swimming. In 2008, she won Olympic Gold in Beijing in both the 400m and 800m freestyle*, and backed this up with two Olympic bronze medals at London 2012, again in the 400m and 800m freestyle. She also won multiple World Championship, European Championship and Commonwealth Games medals, including as part of relay teams.


In the Olympic 800-metre freestyle final at the Beijing Olympics, she won gold in a world record time of 8:14.10, a full six seconds ahead ofthe silver medalist, and two seconds ahead of the former world record which had been set by Janet Evans and was, at the time, the longest standing world record in swimming. Adlington was 19 years old. Evans had set the record when Adlington was just 6 months old.
However, what most people don’t know is how she managed to get the point where she could achieve all this glory.
Adlington grew up in Mansfield, England and learnt to swim at Sherwood swimming baths. Initially, she learnt to swim so her parents knew she would be safe on holidays. She started swimming lessons at the age of three, and absolutely loved it. However, she was, and still is, afraid of the sea, though she didn’t let this fear of water stop her. When she was twelve she began to swim both mornings and evenings to make herself as fast as possible, and at age 14 she won two gold medals at the Youth Olympics.
Learning to swim was the start of Adlington’s success in the pool. She never expected to win Olympic gold medals and become famous, however with hard work she did. By learning to swim, you are following in the footsteps of Rebecca Adlington and, who knows, someone from PoolSchools might become an Olympic medalist themselves one day!

*freestyle = In competitive swimming, in ‘freestyle’ events you can pick which stroke you do. However, everyone always does front crawl in these races because that is the fastest stroke.