Olympic swimmers retire from competition

Last updated 14:27 15/03/2013
Melissa Ingram
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CALLING IT A DAY: Melissa Ingram in action at the London 2012 Olympics.

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Olympic swimmers Melissa Ingram and Carl O'Donnell have retired from competition on the eve of the national championships in Auckland.

Twenty seven-year-old Ingram, a Commonwealth Games and world championship medallist, is calling it a day after 10 years on the national team and now hopes to pursue a career in PR.

"It's not a decision that I have made lightly," Ingram said.

"My whole life has been dedicated to swimming, but I know that I have left no stone unturned and I leave the sport with no regrets.

"I always gave 100 percent. It's been an incredible journey, full of highs and lows, and it's shaped me into the person I am today."

Ingram won bronze in the 200m backstroke at the world short course championships in USA in 2004. 

She then went on to anchor the women's 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games where she clinched the bronze medal from Canada by two hundredths of a second, before breaking the Commonwealth record in the 200m backstroke Delhi in 2010.

She finished 11th in the 200m backstroke in a New Zealand record time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was a regular on the World Cup circuit, amassing 44 podium finishes throughout her career.

"I've been so lucky throughout my career to have been supported by so many amazing people," she said.

"My family have stuck by me through thick and thin, my parents always ready to reach back into their wallets to pay for another suit or overseas trip in my younger years. My friends and team-mates always had my back and my coaches consistently went the extra mile to help me."

O'Donnell, 25, made his way on to the international scene at the Oceaniac Championships in 2008 and the following year at the World University Games in Belgrade as a specialist sprinter.

He became a key member of the men's medley relay team at the London Olympics last year, producing his fastest-ever 100m split with the team narrowly missing out on a place in the final.

Swimming New Zealand praised the accomplishments of both swimmers.

"Both Melissa and Carl have made a real mark on the sport in this country for many years and they can both be proud of what they have achieved both in and out of the pool," Swimming New Zealand general manager Mark O'Connor said.

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