Rebecca Adlington says the European Championships in Glasgow will be the perfect test for British swimmers in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Double Olympic champion Adlington won two golds in the pool at the Beijing 2008 Games and two bronzes at London 2012 before retiring in 2013.
“The European Championships are such a good marker for the swimmers,” said the 29-year-old.
“It is one of those that they take really, really seriously.”
And she added of the August event: “It’s a harder competition than the Commonwealth Games and this is what they’re all focused on, this is their target for the year.
“It’s two years to go to Tokyo so they’ll be really, really wanting to lay down some markers and I think they’ll be absolutely buzzing. They’ll be nervous, but they’ll be excited to come up to Glasgow and put in some good performances.”
Adlington will be part of the BBC’s coverage of the event and hopes the city can recapture the atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
“The Games in 2014 were fantastic, Glasgow is such a good sporting city,” said Adlington.
“There was such an amazing atmosphere. No matter who you spoke to, it was exciting. The crowds were fantastic at the venues, the stands were absolutely packed, they blew the roof off the swimming pool they were so loud. Hopefully they’ll do that yet again this summer.
“I retired after London so it was too long for me to be able to compete in Glasgow. It was one of those that I was like, ‘oh, should I carry on?’ at the time, but I just knew it was the right time for me to stop and it’s been amazing for me to step into a different capacity to work for the BBC, to be covering the Games.
“I still feel involved in a way, I feel like I’ve just moved apartments. It’s amazing because we’ve been able to see the younger guys now come through and really take shape.”
Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Hannah Miley are expected to compete at the European Championships.
“We’ve got so much depth there, which is the amazing thing for British swimming,” added Adlington.
“You’ve got some really young guys on the team like Jacob Peters. These are the ones that are making a name for themselves now and to watch out for.
“So if you’re even a slight fan of swimming, take note because I think these guys will be the ones on the podium and on the Tokyo team in two years.
“I remember going to the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 and I sat there and I was like, ‘this is what I want to do’, and it really started it for me.
”I think that’s what the European Championships can do this summer. It’s for any younger athletes, any up and coming that have an inspiration to be an athlete one day that they can really get a feel and a buzz for it.”