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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 15:31 UK

Adlington could target four golds

Report: Adlington begins 2012 preparations

Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington could aim for four swimming titles at the London 2012 Games.

Adlington, 19, returned to training on Monday for the first time since winning the 400m and 800m freestyle in Beijing.

And she is considering whether to add the 200m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay to her programme.

"I would love to do all three individual events but by then I'll be 23, which is quite old for a distance swimmer," she told BBC Sport.

"I don't know if at 23, my body is going to be able to handle the amount of work I am doing now. If not, I'd settle for the 200m and the 400m."

Rebecca's speed is improving the whole time - potentially there are four opportunities for medals

Coach Bill Furniss

Adlington will swim 10 times a week, for four miles per session for 50 weeks each year - by the time the London 2012 Games are underway she will have clocked up more than 8,000 miles in the pool.

Coach Bill Furniss said of the possibility of her targeting four medals: "It's not an unrealistic dream, but it is a difficult dream.

"Rebecca's speed is improving the whole time. Potentially there are four opportunities for medals.

"But it is a difficult balance, because if you try to do too many, you can compromise your main events."

It's so nice just to come back and it be normal

Rebecca Adlington
Adlington's biggest challenge may come with balancing the heavy training workload required, and a new-found status as a sporting celebrity.

This week, for example, she will be a guest at the Pride of Britain Awards, a cook on the TV series Ready Steady Cook, then round it all off with a Downing Street reception.

After her first session back at Nottingham University pool on Monday, she told BBC Radio Nottingham: "I was definitely ready to get back in.

"I've noticed how much my fitness has dropped and knew that if I left it much longer I wouldn't get back in. I'm very, very unfit.

"For swimming, even if you have two weeks off, it takes a month and a half to get your fitness back, so I won't get back to fitness for about two and a half months."

Furniss said the media interest since Beijing had surpassed even his expectations, stressing that it was now time for Adlington to establish a settled routine as the preparations for London 2012 begin.

"Excuse the pun, but calm waters are what we need," he said.

"Rebecca just loves the routine. She's a star, but in this situation she's just Rebecca, and everybody knows her as that and will treat her as that.

"That's great for her - she needs that normality in her life again."

Adlington agreed. "Everybody here knows me already, and they're used to having all of us around," she said.

"To be honest, it's not a special thing for these guys to see anymore, they're just like 'Oh, its Beck' and I love that - it's so nice just to come back and it be normal."

see also
In Pictures: Rebecca Adlington returns
26 Aug 08 |  In Pictures
'Highest honour' for medallists
24 Sep 08 |  Nottinghamshire
Adlington storms to second gold
16 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Adlington snatches swimming gold
11 Aug 08 |  Swimming

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