Olympic stars tell Ben Rhydding pupils to strive for success

Olympic stars tell Ben Rhydding pupils to strive for success

Swimmers Keri-Anne and Rebecca with Rachel Scott, Adam Mitchell and Jess Bentley Picture: Vaughn Ridley

Questions from the children for the stars to answer

First published in Local news

Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Keri-Anne Payne helped children learn about striving for success when they visited an Ilkley school.

The Team GB swimmers took part in lessons and an assembly at Ben Rhydding Primary School.

They were led into school assembly by a procession of youngsters carrying one of this year’s Olympic torches – loaned to them by Ilkley Olympic torch bearer Margaret Cook. The pair were given a special place in the school’s book of achievements, usually reserved for the names of pupils who have done well, and presented with their very own Ben Rhydding Primary gold medals.

Themes of the assembly included determination, courage and other attributes needed to achieve success.

Adlington, 23, won bronze medals in two freestyle events at the London Games and previously won two golds medals at Beijing.

Payne, 24, is a two-time world 10km open-water swimming champion and won a silver medal at the Beijing games.

Following the assembly, they visited the classrooms during lessons to talk to the children.

The pupils were able to ask questions about training for the Olympics, their coaches and the importance of teamwork.

The two stars are close friends and were invited by a friend who is a teaching assistant at Ben Rhydding Primary.

Rebecca Adlington said: “I think kids are really interested. I think it’s great if we can come into schools so they can actually see us, let them see the medals and encourage them as well.”

In 2009, the two swimmers took part in a 1930s-theme photoshoot at Ikley Lido.

Despite specialising in open-water swimming, Keri-Anne admitted this week she found the outdoor pool’s water “freezing”, compared to her usual training areas abroad.

Children at Ben Rhydding also presented Rebecca with money towards a sponsored bike ride she recently took part in.

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