Posting a picture of a handwritten note on Twitter, Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne has announced her retirement from competitive swimming.
The note read:
“The sport of swimming has given me life defining experiences, helped me find joy in taking on incredible challenges & created friendships that have enriched my life.
“The decision to retire from competitive swimming has been made easy as I continue to chase & fuel my passion, inspiring people to share my love of open water swimming.
“I’m delighted that my next chapter has already begun with my husband, David Carry. Our business, Triscape, has coached almost 1,000 people to get into this wonderful sport and taking on their next sporting challenge.
“Thank you all so much for all the love & support over this awesome 18-year chapter of my life!”
Born in South Africa to British parents, Keri-anne moved to the UK when she was 13 and she joined Stockport Metro Swimming Club. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she competed in the 200m and 400m individual medley events before tackling the 10km marathon swim, the first time this event featured in the Olympics. It turned out to be a flagship event for British swimmers with Keri-anne winning silver, closely followed by Cassandra Patten, who came third. Meanwhile, in the men’s race, David Davies also won silver.
Keri-anne then went on to become the FINA 10km World Champion in 2009 and defended her title in 2011.
Disappointment followed in 2012 when, with expectations high, she narrowly missed out on a medal in the London Olympics marathon swim. However, she says that walking out in front of 30,000 fans at the Serpentine was her “proudest sporting moment.”
She then stepped away from competition for nearly a year for a time of reflection before deciding to commit to three more years of training, which resulted in qualification for a third Olympics, in Rio, where she finished seventh. She is one of only a few swimmers who has taken part in all three Olympic marathon swims.
She will now focus more of her energy on her business, Triscape, which aims to help people live healthy and active lives. She will also dedicate more time to her ambassadorial role with two sporting charities, SportsAid and SkillForce.
Images: top, thanks to Great Swim and below, from Speedo for Keri-anne’s interview in Issue 1 of H2Open Magazine in 2011.