OLYMPIC champion Rebecca Adlington made a splash among eager young swimmers at a school gala in Bolton.

The double gold medal winner was mobbed by excited fans as she cheered them on from the side of the pool at the Bolton Schools’ Swimming Championships yesterday.

Miss Adlington, who retired from competitive swimming after the London 2012 Olympics, paid Bolton a visit as part of the launch of her SwimStart project — which is being piloted at Total Fitness in Waters Meeting Road, Astley Bridge.

The I’m a Celebrity star said she was thrilled to see so many year 5 and 6 pupils taking part in the gala.

The 24-year-old added: “It’s great to come here and see all of these kids having fun in the pool — although they all keep asking me about the jungle rather than swimming!

“They’ve been saying they want to swim more after today and I couldn’t ask for more. I think swimming should be about having fun rather than just swimming competitively.”

More than 200 children from 20 primary schools took to the pool to show off their best strokes to Miss Adlington — who was joined by fellow Olympic swimmer Steve Parry.

Mr Parry added: “Swimming is a great sport, but it can also save lives.”

Muhammad Zakariyya Vali, aged 10, from the Valley Community School, said: “I haven’t really done much swimming before, but I found it really inspiring to chat to Rebecca. I think it’s amazing what she has done.”