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Former World Champion James Gibson calls time on his career

3rd November 2010

Former World Champion James Gibson has announced his retirement from competitive swimming following a 12-month battle with a serious back injury.

Gibson, 30, has been based in Marseille since 2006 and is one of the top British Breaststroke swimmers of all time after winning gold at nearly every international event he has competed in.  He has held British, Commonwealth and European records for both 50m and 100m.

I have had a great career, met some fantastic people and have had the support of some brilliant coaches along the way

He said: “I have had a great career, met some fantastic people and have had the support of some brilliant coaches along the way.

“My career highlight of course has to be winning the World Championships in 2003 in Barcelona but one of my most memorable moments was when I took gold in Manchester at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

"Standing on the podium, with friends and family amongst the 5,000 strong crowd, all singing the English anthem was one of the most emotional moments of my career. I still get tears in my eyes when I watch it now!”

Gibson also received an MBE in the New Year honours list in 2004 after his win in Barcelona. By taking the title he became the first Briton in 28 years to win a gold medal at a World Championships when he won the 50m Breaststroke.

“It is disappointing having to retire before I got the chance to compete at the London 2012 Games but hopefully I’ll be there on the deck instead of in the pool.”

Swimming will still remain a large part of James’ life. He is hoping to replicate his success in the pool on the poolside, having just accepted a coaching job in Marseille at the CN Marseille, French Swimming High Performance Centre.

“I am looking forward to the next phase in my career,” he explained. “As a sprint coach here, I will get to work with some of the most exciting European swimmers.”

National Performance Director Michael Scott said: “James has had a long and distinguished career and has represented both Great Britain and England with pride and distinction earning podium performances at World and Commonwealth Games level. 

“At all times he has been a dedicated and committed athlete and during the time I have known him, he has exhibited a passion and strong thirst for knowledge for all things associated with swimming.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his outstanding contribution to British Swimming and wish him every success in his future endeavours on the pool deck as a coach”.

When asked if he had any final words of wisdom for aspiring swimmers, hoping to follow in his footsteps James said: “Definitely enjoy it and have fun - I have.”

European Champs 2016