• Swimming

Adlington wants gold rush to continue away from home

Tom Pilcher
August 18, 2014
Scotland's Daniel Wallace was one of 15 British gold medalists at the Commonwealth Games © PA Photos

Rebecca Adlington says after two summers of competing at home British swimmers need to get familiar with the vagaries of travelling again if they are to contend on the world stage.

Adlington's two golds at the Beijing 2008 Games made her Britain's most successful Olympic swimmer for 100 years before she claimed two bronze medals at London 2012.

Rebecca Adlington tasted home success at the London 2012 Olympics © PA Photos

Now retired and with a raft of fresh young talent recently emerging at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in front of yet more fervent home support, it's time to get comfortable being uncomfortable says Adlington - starting with the European Championships in Berlin on Monday.

"The toughest thing now is not having a home games. It's now that 'Oh, we're going abroad again'. So getting used to travelling again, time differences, everything like that," the 25-year-old told ESPN.

"It's a nice thing to be the underdog sometimes. I always liked being the underdog rather than everyone looking at me.

"I think it's exciting going to new countries. I remember stepping into the Water Cube for the first time in Beijing and getting such butterflies. Our current guys haven't had that because the events have been at home and they're used to the venues."

Adlington was impressed with what she saw poolside while on commentary duties in Glasgow and she has little doubt British swimmers can seize the moment at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"At the Commonwealth Games it was so nice to see so many athletes come through because so many retired after London," said Adlington.

"They're the ones who'll hopefully be on the podium. But they'll miss that home crowd, that roar. I just hope the rest of the country carries on supporting the rest of the athletes exactly the same."

British swimmers will next look to pit their skills against the world's best in December at the short course worlds in Doha before the 2015 world championships in Russia.

Adlington divides her time between mentoring the current athletes, driving grassroots sport on in England and supporting the Join In summer relay to help get more volunteers involved in community sport.

She said one young swimmer whose Glasgow genius may help grow swimming in Britain was Siobhan-Marie O'Connor.

"I can remember her being this little 16-year-old at the Olympics and now people are waking up to the fact of how brilliant she is," said Adlington of the 18-year-old, who won six medals at the Commonwealth Games including one gold.

"Hopefully she'll inspire a lot more people to get in the pool as well."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd