The 23-year-old has announced her retirement this morning, to focus on charity and campaigning work.

Adlington won two gold medals at Beijing 2008 to become the first British female swimming champ in 48 years.

She then followed this up with two bronze medals last summer at London 2012, to be one of this country’s finest and most successful swimmers, claiming World, European and Commonwealth titles along with her Olympic success. .

“I hate the word retire. I love swimming but as a competitive element and elite athlete I won’t compete anymore,” Adlington said at a press conference in London this morning.

She added: “I’ll always be swimming even when I am 90 years old.”

Photo: Getty.