Published: Oct 29, 2012 05:22:19 PM Updated: Dec 13, 2012 11:56:23 AM
Geoff ‘Skippy’ Huegill’s second coming as an elite swimmer has ended today with the former world record holder and multiple Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist announcing his retirement from competitive swimming.
Having first represented Australia as plucky 17-year-old from Mackay at the World Short Course Championships in Sweden in 1997, Huegill was a silver and bronze medallist at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a world championship gold medallist, and won a memorable gold medal as a comeback swimmer in the 100m butterfly at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
A finalist at last year’s FINA World Championships in Shanghai against the great Michael Phelps, the 33-year-old Huegill missed selection onto the London Olympic team this year by less than half a second, and six months on from the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships has decided to bring his racing career to a close.
“This time it’s definitely it. I’ve retired once before, and a lot of people have reminded me about that, but this is it. I’ll keep swimming because I love the sport, but my serious racing days are over,” said Huegill.
“I’ve loved every minute of this journey, and I’ve been able to share it with so many people and I would like to thank them all for their support.”
“When I came back to the sport in late 2008 after Beijing, I’d been away for some four years and had no idea what was possible. To return to the national team was a huge bonus and while a third Olympic Games in London was always the dream, I leave competitive swimming very content with what I’ve been able to achieve.”
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent said Huegill’s contribution to the sport over many years has been immeasurable.
“Geoff has experienced so many highs and lows in his swimming career, and the real test of character for an athlete is to learn from both of those, and Skippy has certainly done that.
“He always represented Australia with passion and pride and to see him at his second Olympics in Athens, and then return to our team some six years later for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi was a remarkable achievement.
“I’m sure everyone in swimming wishes Geoff the best in his future endeavours and we hope to keep him involved in the sport at some level.”
In a career spanning some 16 years, Huegill won two Olympic medals, four world championship medals and eight Commonwealth Games medals including seven gold.
BORN: Gove, NT
LIVES: Sydney, NSW
MAIN EVENTS: 50m, 100m fly
PERSONAL BEST TIMES – LONG COURSE (50m Pool)
50m butterfly – 23.11 - 2009 AIS Meet
100m butterfly – 51.69 – 2010 Commonwealth Games
PERSONAL BEST TIMES – SHORT COURSE (25m Pool)
50m butterfly– 22.50 - 2009 FINA World Cup Short Course
100m butterfly – 50.47 – 2009 FINA World Cup Short Course
AUSTRALIAN SWIM TEAM MAJOR REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS AND RESULTS
Athens, Greece 2004 8th 100m fly
Sydney, Australia 2000 Silver: 4x100m medley Bronze: 100m fly
Shanghai, China 2011 Silver: 4x100m medley Bronze: 50m fly, 8th 100m fly
Barcelona, Spain 2003 4th 50m fly, 13th 100m fly
Fukuoka, Japan 2001 Gold: 50m fly, 4x100m medley Bronze: 100m fly
Perth, Australia 1998 Bronze: 100m fly
Delhi, India 2010 Gold: 100m fly, 4x100m medley Silver: 50m fly
Manchester, England 2002 Gold: 50m fly, 100m fly, 4x100m medley
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1998 Gold: 100m fly, 4x100m medley
Pan Pacific Championships
Irvine, California 2010 Bronze: 4x100m medley, 4th 50m fly, 5th 100m fly
Yokohama, Japan 2002 Silver: 100m fly, 4x100m medley
Sydney, Australia 1999 Silver: 100m fly