Swim star Cate Campbell retires without any regrets

Justin Chadwick |

Cate Campbell bid an emotional farewell to fans after failing to qualify for the Paris Games.
Cate Campbell bid an emotional farewell to fans after failing to qualify for the Paris Games.

Cate Campbell has officially announced her retirement after falling short in her bid to become the first Australian swimmer to race at five Olympics.

Campbell, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, missed out on selection for the Paris Games in the 100m and 50m freestyle events at the recent trials in Brisbane.

The 32-year-old made her retirement official on Wednesday in an emotional Instagram post.

Cate Campbell (r) after winning 4x100m freestyle gold at Tokyo Games.
Cate Campbell (r) after helping Australia to 4x100m freestyle gold at the Tokyo Olympics. (Joe Giddens/AAP PHOTOS)

“After over 20 years, over 35,00km, over 19,000,000 stokes, 4 Olympics, 8 Olympic medals, 7 World Records and countless memories it’s time to officially say goodbye to the dream I have had since I was 9 years old,” Campbell wrote.

“As of today, I am officially retired from elite sport.

“I have had some time over the past week to reflect on my career, and while there are many conflicting emotions, especially because it did not end exactly how I had hoped, I am still able to look back without regret.

“I gave the pursuit of a 5th Olympics everything I had, and therefore, even in failure, there is a small, indelible kernel of pride.

“It’s been a long and wild ride and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I can’t wait to cheer on the Australian Dolphins and the rest of the Australian Olympic Team in Paris. I am entering my cheerleading era.”

Campbell ends her Olympic career with four gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

Australia’s world-leading swimmers have vowed to remain inspired by Campbell when they swim in Paris.

Speaking from the team’s training camp in the south of France, head coach Rohan Taylor described Campbell’s contribution to swimming as “just incredible”.

“Not just for what she achieved in the pool but also outside of it,” he said.

“She is a genuine leader … (and) was always team first. Her anchor of the medley relay in Tokyo – her skills on the changeover – was class and grit.

“We saw how much she meant to the team and her peers by that incredible send off in the pool at the selection trials – that was a reflection of the high regard we hold Cate in.”