Adlington sets new goal
Rebecca Adlington described as "my absolute goal in life" her dream of seeing every child leave primary school able to swim 25 metres.
The 23-year-old's announcement she was bringing to an end a glittering career that has brought her Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth titles was no surprise, speculation having swirled since her two bronze medals in London at the 2012 Games.
She leaves the pool the most successful British swimmer of the modern era and still the 800 metres freestyle world record holder.
Now she wants to create another legacy with her plans for a learn to swim programme - 'Becky Adlington's SwimStars' - as well as a desire to mentor promising youngsters in the British Swimming system.
The Mansfield-born swimmer has qualified as a swimming teacher with a real love of instructing three and four-year-olds because "they don't have a Scooby Doo who I am!"
Adlington said: "I think the whole thing about the Olympics is legacy and everyone keeps throwing legacy around.
"Obviously the Games did that: people saw us, all the little kids were on TV going 'I want to be a Chris Hoy, I want to be a Becky Adlington' but you can't just leave it at that - 'right I've done my job in London, that's it'.
"I want to create a deeper legacy which is trying to get every single child swimming 25 metres when they leave primary school.
"That would be my absolute goal in life to do that.
"I know it's ambitious, I know it is very out there but I wouldn't have said five years ago that I'd have four Olympic medals in my drawer at home.
"It is such a life skill, it would be amazing, it would overtake anything I've achieved medal-wise.
"That would be the greatest legacy of all."
Describing Beijing as "without a doubt the best moment of my entire career", the ensuing attention was also overwhelming and a year later she suffered her deepest cut when she finished outside the 800m medals at the World Championships.
Such experience has led to a desire to prepare others for what may lie ahead.
"I'd love to stay at elite level: it's the thing I know and love and hopefully I can help the younger guys within the sport, they're coming up and may have questions.
"I've been through it."
So too is she happy with Bill Furniss - her mentor at Nova Centurion since she was 12 - being named Great Britain head coach, his appointment on Monday coming weeks after she criticised British Swimming for "ignoring" the swimmers following the inquest into the team's three medals in London.
Adlington said: "He has so much knowledge and wisdom to pass down and I think he is going to do a brilliant job."
Furniss will work alongside new performance director Chris Spice and they, along with chief executive David Sparkes, will have close contact with an athletes' leadership group, which met with approval.
"I think it's important they have taken that next step and they are going to do everything to let swimmers have a say as well."
While she eschewed plans for administrative involvement, Adlington was enthused by Furniss' and Spice's appointments and predicted a bright future for the GB team.
Of how she would like to be remembered, Adlington mused: "I'd like to be (thought of as) someone who I hope has enabled people to have a bit more confidence and belief in themselves.
"No one ever expects a British swimmer to get two golds, nobody expected it before Beijing, so hopefully the younger guys coming up can see it is possible.
"I'm just a girl from Mansfield and I've done it."
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