Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington is adamant the Richard Dunn Sports Centre has a vital role to play in unearthing the next crop of world-class British international talent.

Adlington is lending her support to British Swimming’s Big Splash campaign ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, with the Bradford facility among over 1,000 pools across the UK to be involved.

The freestyle specialist is not unlike most swimmers on the British team after starting off at her local pool, Sherwood Colliery SC, before winning double gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“My journey towards becoming Olympic champion started by going down to my local pool with my sisters,” said Adlington, who will swim at the British Gas Swimming Championships in March.

“When I first started swimming it was just to spend time with my sisters and friends and enjoy myself. As I got older the focus shifted to improving my fitness and technique.

“The Big Splash could be how the next generation of British Olympians get into the sport but the scheme is about even more than that. It’s about people having a go.

“Local clubs and pools are the heartbeat of swimming in this country and I’m behind any scheme that encourages people of all ages to get involved and have a go.”

Swimming for 30 minutes once a week burns up to 350 calories while toning your body and, whatever the aim, Adlington insists little steps can have a large impact.

“I just love being in the water so it would be great if more people could get involved, even for just 30 minutes a week,” she said.

“I just loved swimming and the fact that there are now 1,200 Big Splash pools across the country offering taster sessions and special offers is great.”

* British Swimming’s Big Splash campaign is supported by principal partner British Gas and supporting partners Kellogg’s and Speedo. For more information on great swimming activities and offers, visit