After winning two gold medals in 2008, followed by two bronze at the London Olympics 2012 Rebecca Adlington is now determined to give something back, as she joined 1,000 St Albans school children at a Legacy Games event.
Wide-eyed and cheering primary school children welcomed Rebecca OBE, who boasts the impressive title of Great Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer, to Westminster Lodge Leisure centre today.
"I absolutely love working with kids- it’s just the best thing.
"It is so enjoyable and rewarding. When you swim you’re kind of in this selfish bubble where you are doing everything to improve your performance. It’s how you can get better, it’s how you can improve" says Rebecca, the now retired athlete.
She continued: "Whereas working with kids is so rewarding because you get to see them having a good time and them getting excited and enjoying it.
"And seeing them happy and you go home from the day and you feel like you’ve made a little bit of an impact.
"Even if it is the smallest thing, I find it really rewarding. If you go in to a sport you have to be quite selfish, so this is giving back."
The Legacy Games Day, in association with Fit For Sport, is an organisation dedicated to bringing sport and fitness to children and young people across the country.
Alongside Everyone Active, they have pledged to engage 500,000 children across the UK in sport and activity.
After a mass warm up with Rebecca and fellow GB Olympic swimmer and sports personality Steve Parry, the children enjoyed a variety of sports, activities and team building challenges.
Rebecca, 25, said the facilities at Westminster Lodge were "mind blowing".
She said: "This site is absolutely incredible, it is absolutely mind blowing.
"It is not just the pool, you’ve got the gym, you’ve got the kids gym, and you’ve got the rock climbing.
"I think it is really difficult when you grow up and you just have a couple of things available to you. You are a little limited if you don’t like certain sports, you are limited to what you can do.
"Whereas here you have got so much access to so many versatile activities. For me being from a small town in Mansfield we were very very lucky to have two swimming pools."
Rebecca’s biggest fan and Margaret Wix School pupil, Fabiola, 6, said: "I am Rebecca’s biggest fan because I really like swimming.
"The activities have been really fun."
St Dominic Primary School pupil, Joe, 9, added: "The coaches have been really nice and they have set up some really good activities."
Rebecca said she hopes to pass on her experiences to inspire children to get involved in sports.
She said: "We all need to put our hands up and say ‘right what canI do to help?’ For us athletes we take it really seriously.
"We really take it on board by trying to go in to schools and do events like this today and just giving the kids the chance to meet Olympians, so they think ‘if she can do it, why cant I?’"
The 25-year-old has also launched 'Becky Adlington's SwimStars' initiative with a vision to see every child in Britain able to swim 25 metres by the time they leave primary school.