Rebecca Adlington 'to retire' from competitive swimming

She's only 23, but the four-times Olympic medal winner is preparing to walk away from the pool

LAST UPDATED AT 09:51 ON Thu 31 Jan 2013

REBECCA ADLINGTON, the 23-year-old swimmer who won two gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is expected to announce her retirement from the pool next week.

Her manager refused to give details about the "big announcement" she is scheduled to make next Tuesday, but it appears she has "decided to call time on a remarkable career", the Daily Telegraph reports.

Adlington's "stunning debut" in Beijing saw her dubbed the golden girl of British swimming. But the Telegraph says it was "a difficult act to follow" and when she came away with only two bronze medals from the London Olympics she felt, "inexplicably", she had let people down and apologised to the crowd at the Aquatic Centre.

The BBC points out the Mansfield-born swimmer has been deeply affected by the "turmoil" in British swimming since Team GB's disappointing performance in London. She said she felt "insulted" by an inquiry into the team's failure to reach its target of six medals and has been openly "critical" of the delay in appointing a new head coach following the departure of Dennis Pursley, who quit immediately after the Games ended in August.

The Telegraph says Adlington has been "seeking the counsel of her closest family and friends" about a future beyond the pool. It is understood that rather than spend countless hours preparing for next year's World Championships or the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, she wants to focus her energies on helping to tackle the nation's obesity epidemic and getting more young people to take up swimming.

"It is expected that she will announce on Tuesday that she has created a foundation to work with young people at swimming camps," the Telegraph says.

Adlington declined to comment today on the rumours she was about to retire, tweeting that she had made leek and potato soup for the first time and "I love it!" · 

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