YOUNG swimmers in County Durham had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with a double Olympic champion.

Britain’s most successful female swimmer, Becky Adlington spearheads, the SwimStars Learn to Swim initiative, and she has forged a successful partnership with the Bannatyne Group, which offers lessons aimed at three to 11-year-olds.

Adlington recently visited the Bannatyne Health Club in Chester-le-Street, within Durham County Cricket Club's County Ground, to meet SwimStars instructors and see the youngsters in action.

Read more: County Durham man, 71, converts hundreds of bags of clothes into £15k cash

She said: “It is super important for kids to learn how to swim. It is such a fundamental life skill, but they also gain so much confidence, make new friends and have fun in the water.”

Parents were full of praise for the SwimStars programme.

Club member Adam Nairn said: “I enrolled my child in SwimStars because I come to Bannatyne’s gym.

“Ethan loves the fun nature of them and playing with his friends in the water. He’s a real water baby and has been ever since birth.”

Nicola Turner, the health club'sgeneral manager, said: “SwimStars has fully qualified, fantastic teachers and it’s great for the children to have the opportunity to be taught by a well-known organisation.”

Adlington added: “We have had a partnership with Bannatyne’s for six years and have been at Chester-le-Street for five and it’s so fantastic to have them as a partner.

“Their facilities are so amazing that we feel lucky to have them on board.”

SwimStars teaches children to become competent and confident in the water with much of the lessons’ emphasis focusing on having fun, while learning a vital life skill.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054