Passion's gone so Wiegersma retires

19:36, Nov 15 2012
Natalie Wiegersma
NO REGRETS: Natalie Wiegersma, at Splash Palace yesterday, has turned her back on competitive swimming after losing her drive and passion for the sport.

One of Southland's greatest swimmers has retired.

Natalie Wiegersma, 22, has decided she has lost her drive and passion for the sport and it was time to move on.

It ends an impressive career that included setting one New Zealand open record and 12 national age-group records over short and long-course distances.

She attended the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and the Olympic Games in London this year.

In 2006, she was crowned the world youth champion for the 100m backstroke.

Wiegersma told her family, friends and long-time supporters soon after making the decision, despite publicly stating during the leadup to London that the plan was to kick on to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.


However, following her return to Invercargill from London, her mood had changed - she had achieved her long-time goal of attending an Olympic Games and it now was time for the next chapter in her life.

Wiegersma said she did not have any regrets and was proud of what she had achieved in swimming, but admitted it had been all-absorbing.

"People think they know, but really they have no idea. For the past 10 years swimming has been my life. I haven't touched alcohol, I've never gone clubbing and I've never had a boyfriend, things like that - all because of swimming," she said yesterday.

The girl from Dacre now has her sights on a new challenge.

"I've got ambitions to either be in the police force or navy. I've never been one to have a desk job, as they say. Coming from swimming, I have the discipline and the commitment that swimming's taught me and (coach) Jeremy (Duncan) has taught me also, which I'm very thankful for."

The Southland Times