Were you expecting her to win two gold medals?
Kay: No, to be fair, we weren’t. We had hopes of a medal in the 800m, but not in the 400m. She was third-fastest in Britain going into the trials, so to come out winning it… I was obviously incredibly proud of her in Beijing, but the way she’s handled herself since then has also amazed me. She’s handled all the attention brilliantly.
Has she had any diva moments?
Kay: I think the only time was when she was lying on the sofa right after Beijing and said, “Mum, can you get me a drink of water?” I went out of the room, stopped, came back in and said, “No. You know where the tap is. Get your own”.
Rebecca: I sometimes have my diva moments, but it’s normally when I’ve had a long day, when I’ve been up since 5am doing my training, then done media stuff and more training. I sometimes get ratty; I don’t mean to, but I’m so tired. And I think sometimes people forget that I’m still training, I’m putting in a lot of work and there is still a huge goal in sight. Sometimes I can’t help but get a little bit angry and just be like, “No. Leave me alone. I’m tired.”
Do you think you would have been successful without the help of your family?
Rebecca: No, I don’t think anyone can be. My family were the ones in the early years who took me to training and financed it. Some people’s parents pressure them too much, so I was lucky they trusted me and my coach and let us get on with it. Most of all, they just believed in me.
Kay: We were never the parents at the side of the pool checking her times and pushing her to go faster. It always came down, for us, to enjoyment. We believed in Becky’s potential, we thought she had something, but I think it’s fair to say – sorry, Becks – we never thought she was going to do what she did in Beijing. And now we can’t wait to see what she does in these Games.
Steve: We’ve had different roles over the years – cook, chauffeur, cash machine – but it helped us that her sisters swam and got to national level and we could see a little bit more in Becky.
Kay: It wasn’t just the talent, though. The other two were quite talented, but if you had tried to get Chloe up for early-morning training, she’d have thrown the alarm clock at you.
Steve: Whereas Becky was waking me up.
Kay: She wanted to work at it. She was quite prepared to make the sacrifices. She never once said she didn’t want to go to training. She didn’t go out. She’s had a different life and friendships in swimming, but I think the bulk of it was made easy because Becky wanted to do it. And what she has achieved so far is beyond anything we could have imagined. It still hasn’t sunk in yet; I don’t think it ever will. To me, she’s just our Becky who swims.
Watch Rebecca Adlington in the Women's 400m Freestyle on Sunday 29 July - heats at 11:33am, BBC1, BBC Olympics 2. Final at 8:15pm, BBC1, BBC Olympics 6