Former freestyle world record holder Eamon Sullivan has announced his immediate retirement from competitive swimming due to ongoing shoulder injury concerns.
Once holder of the 50m and 100m freestyle world records, West Australian Sullivan - who won two Olympic silver medals in Beijing - had been plagued by shoulder issues in recent times.
The 28-year-old had been hoping surgery - which caused him to withdraw from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games team - would extend his swimming career until the 2016 Olympics.
During his ten years on the national swimming team, Sullivan competed at three Olympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012), two Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010) and two World Championships (Melbourne 2007 and Shanghai 2011).
Sullivan is the current Australian 50m freestyle champion, but has succumbed to ongoing shoulder injuries which forced him to pull out of the Commonwealth Games.
He will also be remembered for being part of the infamous Stilnox Six, a group of Australian swimmers reprimanded for taking part in a bonding session involving the sleeping pill in the lead up to the troubled London Olympics pool campaign.
Sullivan said in a press release his decision didn’t come easily: “One of the things I’m most proud of throughout my career is overcoming injuries. I’m at a point where I’ve had one too many injuries, and it has become too much to manage.”
“In the end my body has let me down, so I’m very disappointed, but it’s the right time.
“I’m very excited about the direction that Swimming Australia is heading with (coaches) Jacco Verhaeren and Michael Scott at the helm. We have an exciting young team heading to the Commonwealth Games, who we should all be getting behind,” Sullivan said.
Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said: “Eamon made his debut onto the Australian Swim Team as an 18-year-old in Athens and then ten years later was able to take out the men’s 50m freestyle at this year’s Australian Championships which was a remarkable achievement.”
“As an athlete he’s been the world’s best, which is what we are all striving for as part of the goal to be the best in the world in and out of the pool by 2020. In addition to what he has achieved in the pool, Eamon has at all stages promoted the sport, especially in his home state of WA, where he’s been extremely active across community and grass roots levels.”
Former Australian swimming champion, Michael Klim, paid tribute to his teammate: “It was an absolute pleasure to have trained and competed alongside and against Eamon during his many successful years on the Australian swimming team“.
“Even though this career was sometimes plagued with injuries, he always found it in himself through sheer determination to perform to the best of his ability, which made him one of the toughest and best sprinters Australia has ever seen. He has left a great mark on the sport which will be remembered forever.”
- From the Sydney Morning Herald