Interview: Rebecca Adlington

ington, OBE, is perhaps our most famous swimmer. At the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 she became the first British swimmer to win two gold medals since 1908, smashing the world record in the 800 metres. In London last year she won two bronze medals to make her the joint most-decorated British female Olympian ever with rower Katherine Grainger. She surprised us all this year by announcing her retirement at the tender age of 23, but she’s not going to be gardening and watching daytime television, you’ll be pleased to hear. She’s teamed up with Palm Island resort in the Grenadines to offer an experience every swimmer will want to be part of.

rebecca adlington

What type of holiday do you like most?
I love beach holidays that are all about relaxing. I really love sitting on a sunbed reading a good book. Anywhere that’s hot and I’m there!

When you’re away do you swim or is that not really a holiday for you?
Yes I do, I love getting into the pool to cool down, for a little paddle. Swimming outdoors in an open-air pool with the sun on your back is amazing.

Do you prefer to swim in the sea or the pool?
I actually do prefer the pool, I like to know what’s around me and to see the bottom!

What was the worst holiday experience you have ever had? When we were younger we booked a week away as a family somewhere in Europe. It was one of those situations where the hotel that had been booked was not what it seemed and it was? awful. We managed to swap hotels though, which was lucky, and it turned out alright in the end. Another experience was a week away where I got a horrible bug and spent the whole time in bed ill!

And your best holiday experience?
I have two. The first was a trip to Florida. I absolutely love going to all the theme parks – they’re amazing especially for someone like me who is a big kid. The second would be the Maldives. My boyfriend and I went for a week of sunshine and it was pure heaven. The islands are absolutely stunning and it doesn’t get much more relaxing than a sand bank in the Indian Ocean.

Where have you most recently been and where is next?
I went to the Maldives in September last year after the Olympics, which was incredible. And not long ago I went to South Africa. The Great Britain swimming team was out there and I joined them for a week. It was really nice and I would love to go back.
Then for my boyfriend’s 21st we went to New York for four days, which was a wonderful break. It’s such a brilliant city and there’s so much to see and do that four days just flew by. My next trip will be to Palm Island in the Caribbean and I can’t wait. It looks stunning, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Which places are top of your list to go? And do you have a favourite place?
Bora Bora in French Polynesia has been a dream destination of mine for as long as I can remember. I would also love to go to New Zealand. I’ve been as far as Australia, but would love to travel that bit further to see New Zealand.

Who do you like to go away with and do your holiday choices depend on your company?
?I have travelled with many types of people. It depends on the sort of holiday you’re after really as a more luxury trip is very different to one you would go on with your family.

Do you book through an agent?
Sometimes I do yes. It depends on what sort of holiday it is. Sometimes it’s nice to know everything is taken care of with nothing to worry about. It’s always good to know that if you have an issue while you’re on holiday there’s someone who can sort it out for you.

You are putting together a swimming workshop for guests of Palm Island to take part in. What will be the benefits for people who take part?
There are a number of benefits. The island is gorgeous, making it an incredible place for a great getaway. The Swimfit workshop will hopefully help guests improve their swimming skills and ability. I’m there to help encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle. It will be a mixture of fun, learning, activity and relaxation. Swimming is my life, in and out of its role for me as a competitive sport. What better place to share the wider ways in which it’s impacted on my life physically, emotionally and on my overall wellbeing, than on a stunning private island with still turquoise waters. I’m really excited to be working with the teams at Palm Island and Virgin Holidays.

● The first two workshops are scheduled for August 11-14, 2013, and May 4-7, 2014,and cost from £