“Of course there but I really love being
No.1’ s Rosie chats to Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington
After a roller-coaster year in the limelight, we caught up with Rebecca while she was in Scotland to launch the 2016 Scotch Lamb Campaign by Quality Meat Scotland. We chatted to the star about everything from how she’s finding motherhood, to her Olympic achievements, tackling online trolls and whether or not you’ll see her on Strictly Come Dancing next year...
Do you come to Scotland often?
I’ve been here quite a lot actually. I’ve had many swimming competitions here! My manager lives in West Kilbride so I’ve been there a few times, and obviously Edinburgh and Glasgow – I’ve also been up to Aberdeen a few times. Every single time I come here, any place I go, the people are always lovely and super friendly, especially when I was here for the Commonwealth games – it was just a great place to host the games, the people are great and there’s a real family feel.
You shot to fame after your huge successes at the Olympics. What was that like?
I was 19 back in Beijing so it feels like a lifetime ago. It’s nice to know I’m ‘famous’ for something! It’s been great for me and all the other Olympians – the support we’ve had has been phenomenal. I was totally shocked coming home from Beijing and finding that people wanted to talk to me and get a photo with me. Being an Olympian is unlike anything else so I think people are really fascinated in what we do. People want to know how you train, what your day-to-day routine is like – they genuinely care.
Have you always wanted to be a swimmer?
Without a doubt. I’m from a really small place so there’s not a massive amount there but we’re very lucky to have two swimming pools. Everyone there is passionate about teaching their children to swim so my mum and dad were always keen to get us into it. Being the baby of the family I wanted to do everything my big sisters could so I was always desperate to learn so I could get out of the baby pool and into the bigger pool with them. I’ve always looked up to my family when it comes to swimming, they inspire and motivate me.
You run a swimming scheme called Becky Adlington Swim Stars – what made you launch this?
After I heard that unfortunately 51 per cent of kids leave primary school every year unable to swim, that’s just in the UK alone, I wanted to make a change. That statistic absolutely astounded me.
“My manager lives in West Kilbride so I’ve been to Scotland quite a lot!” Other than the obvious – what has sport given you?
So much more than just the obvious, and the medals and things. It’s definitely made me who I am today. Sport makes you educated in ways you wouldn’t have thought – people see going to school as education yet I’ve been educated in so many different ways through sport. I’ve learnt time management, how to organise myself and work hard, I’ve learnt more about lifestyle and nutrition.
You’re a mum to gorgeous Summer. What’s motherhood been like for you?
Amazing! She’s 16-months-old now so it’s just been incredible, she’s changing every day. I’m loving her little personality. Every stage is different – she can now walk and is learning how to talk. Every day is a new day and a challenge. There are hard times of course but I love being a mum.
How do you juggle such a busy working life with your personal life?
Being organised! I am a very organised person and I have to admit, I do everything by lists. I’ve got a calendar and I always know what I’m doing and when I’m doing it.