Fran Williamson retires from competitive swimming
7th October 2011
Multiple Paralympic medallist Fran Williamson has retired from swimming after featuring as one of the world’s best athletes since 2001.
In her career, Williamson has competed at two Paralympic Games and won a total of 23 international medals including a silver and a bronze medal in Beijing whilst managing an injury.
I'm grateful for the things and experiences I've gained: friends, knowledge, motivation.
In 2010 she travelled to the IPC Swimming World Championships and came away as World Champion in the S3 50m Backstroke.
On her retirement she commented: “Everyone involved with the sport has been amazing to work with. The opportunity to train, travel and compete with some of the most talented people in the world has been the ultimate highlight and a true privilege.
“My swimming career has brought me so much. As well as 23 treasured international medals, I'm grateful for the things and experiences I've gained: friends, knowledge, motivation…. and empathy for sports people who have to squeeze into skin tight suits to compete!
“In Berlin this year I realised that, with new athletes coming through, the chances of me being able to compete for a place on the podium in London were pretty tough going. But instead of this being a negative, I turned it into a positive. I always knew that there'd be a 'sign' when it was time for me to stand down - this was definitely it.
"Especially when I realised what I could offer outside the pool. I came up with tons of plans, which I'm excited about, and finally decided it was time for a new chapter.
The overall atmosphere in Beijing was so electrifying it is hard not remember it with a smile.
“My favourite competition, controversially, was also my least favourite: Beijing 2008. I spent most of the Games in agony with a severe shoulder injury that couldn't be eased by either physio or medical treatment. However, the overall atmosphere was so awesome and electrifying that it is still hard not to remember it with a smile… and I think I always will.”
National Performance Director John Atkinson added: “Fran has had a key role in the sport for the past decade and I know this decision must have been difficult for her to make. Her achievements in the sport have been vast and they are an outstanding credit to her and British Swimming.
“I took on my role 18 months ago and it has been a pleasure to work with Fran throughout that time. She is and always has been a great ambassador for the sport and we all wish her well for the future.”