She has four Olympic medals to her name, including two golds, but these don’t come close to what Becky Adlington now gets regular delight from.

Since retiring from competitive swimming, Becky has been inspiring younger generations to dive into the pool and learn through her Swim Stars programme. It’s this programme which has helped her transition from professional sport into a second career “much easier” than other athletes.

During an exclusive interview with GIS, Becky, a delegate of VSI's CEO of a Sports Organisation programme, said: "To be honest I’ve found it really easy [the transition] compared to other athletes I’ve spoken to. I kind of feel bad for saying that and feel like I probably should have found it a lot harder.”

YouTube video

She adds: “But then I’m involved in something that is massively rewarding – I get to go to all of these venues seeing these little kids overcome their fear and jump into the water. Seeing them learn a life skill is so rewarding and it has been such an amazing journey for me to be a part of that.”

Becky burst onto the scene when she claimed two golds at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the 400m and 800m freestyle, becoming the first British swimmer to win two Olympic golds since 1908. She backed this up with a number of further world and commonwealth medals before claiming two bronzes in the same events four years later in London.

So how does Swim Stars compare to those Olympic moments in 2008 and 2012?

“To be honest it’s probably more rewarding than the Olympic medals”, she says. “I was in this very selfish bubble as an athlete, whereas now I get to do something that is so rewarding and is helping people.”

Becky adds: “It’s massively inspiring; every time I go into the office or a team meeting I come away inspired because I’m with people it feels like I’m back on a team again. I was with like-minded people as an athlete, and we all wanted to achieve that Olympic success, whereas now I go to the office and we all want to see the learning approach to swimming change. I feel incredibly fortunate to be honest.”