25/07/2012 15:21 BST | Updated 25/07/2012 15:24 BST

Baby Otters Named After Olympic Medal Hopefuls Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington

Olympians train for years, but it will take two new-born otters just a fraction of that time to swim as well as their namesakes - gold medal hopefuls diver Tom Daley and swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

The two Asian short-clawed otters were named Daley and Rebecca by staff at Chester Zoo.

Keeper Hannah Sievewright said: "These are one of the zoo's most adept species in the water and so we thought it was very apt to name our new-born pups after two of our best athletes from the pool.

olympic otter

Chester Zoo vet Livia Benato checks on Daley, one of the two baby Asian short-clawed otters born at the zoo.

"Hopefully, the real Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington will demonstrate similar aquatic prowess to that of our otters and grab gold at the games."

olympic otter rebecca

10-week-old Rebecca, the short-clawed otter named after Olympian Rebecca Adlington, looks around her enclosure at Chester Zoo

The tiny pups, who were born on 20 May, were given their first health checks earlier on Wednesday as Chester Zoo's vets determined their sexes, weighed them and gave them a physical examination.

Veterinary officer Livia Benato said: "Just as all of the athletes going to the games in London need to be in tip-top body condition, so too should all of our animals.

"And we're delighted to say that our otter pups are in great shape. Daley weighed in at 352 grams and Rebecca was a little heavier at 380g.

"They both appear really healthy and so we are very, very happy with them.

"As they grow and gain confidence, we're all looking forward to seeing them splash around in the water."

Asian short-clawed otters - the world's smallest otter species - are classed by conservation organisations as vulnerable to extinction.

The new pups will therefore eventually become part of European-wide breeding programme, providing an important safety net to populations in the wild.