Rebecca Adlington (born 17th February 1989 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England) is a British freestyle swimmer. She won two gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 400 m and 800 m, breaking the 19 year-old world record of Janet Evans in the 800m final. Adlington is Britain's first Olympic swimming champion since 1988, the first British swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals since 1908 and is Great Britain's most successful Olympic swimmer in 100 years.
She attended The Brunts School in Mansfield. Adlington started swimming with Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club, and was selected for the Nottinghamshire County Swim Squad (Nova Centurion) where she currently trains. She still swims in local swimming leagues for Nottingham Leander Swimming Club, taking part in the National Speedo 'B' Final in May 2008. Adlington's grandfather is former Derby County goalkeeper Terry Adlington.
Adlington represented Great Britain in the 2008 Summer Olympics competing in the 400 m and 800 m freestyle swimming events. She was also scheduled to swim in the 4×200 m freestyle relay but was rested in the heat and the team failed to qualify for the final. In the heats of the 400 m freestyle, she broke the Commonwealth record with a time of 4:02:24. On 11 August 2008 she won an Olympic gold medal in the same event, with a time of 4:03.22, beating Katie Hoff of the United States in the last 20m. She was the first woman to win swimming gold for Great Britain since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960. She was the first British swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Olympic Games since Henry Taylor won three in 1908.
Adlington set a new British, Commonwealth, European and Olympic record of 8:18.06 in the preliminary heats of the women's 800 metre freestyle on 14 August 2008. She went on to win the 800m Olympic freestyle final on 16 August 2008 in a world record time of 8:14.10, her second gold of the tournament, a full six seconds ahead of the silver medalist, and two seconds ahead of the former world record which had been set by Janet Evans when Adlington was 6 months old. At the time, this was swimming's longest standing world record.