Backstroker decides it's time to come up for air

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 03/04/2014
Gareth Kean
LAWRENCE SMITH/ Fairfax NZ
TAKING A BREAK: Gareth Kean says he's not retiring from competitive swimming.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Another Commonwealth Games in New Zealand not on immediate radar of NZOC New Zealand women's eight into world champs final and closing on Rio Quiz: Test your sports knowledge - Sept 1 NZ Olympic Committee head Kereyn Smith ready to make most of hosting general assembly No decision yet for Jarryd Hayne but San Francisci 49ers coach says he's impressed New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams voted on to IAAF's athletes' commission Adrian Lewis beats Raymond van Barneveld to win Auckland Darts Masters Team New Zealand comes from behind to win America's Cup regatta in Gothenburg Winter Games success may see it become an annual event Nick Willis a disappointing sixth in 1500m final at world championships in Beijing

Gareth Kean says he is resting, not retiring.

The 22-year-old Wellington backstroker hung up his goggles yesterday, just four months out from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Kean was a medal hope in the 100m and 200m events, but feels he needs a break, both physically and mentally.

''I am looking to come back,'' Kean said.

''I just need a hiatus away from the sport. I've been in it a long time and due to that I'm at the point where I need to explore other options in my life.

''I need to look beyond swimming and kind of figure out who I am. I haven't taken this decision lightly. I've still got goals within the sport of swimming but right now, where I am at, I can't achieve those.

''Having some time off will hopefully help me get back in the pool fully motivated.''

Kean is a noted deep thinker. His heart hasn't been in the sport for some time and he says he came to the conclusion a month ago that he was stale.

''It is a hard sport, it is time-consuming.

''It is a combination of things within the sport that have led me to this.

''It's been a good ride but I need to clear my head. It's unfortunate it is Com Games year.''

Kean will move on to a new phase in his life.

He has secured employment in Wellington with IT recruitment company Talent2, where he will work fulltime as a candidate manager starting on Monday.

''It's going to be different and it's going to be exciting,'' Kean said.

''Being a Gen Y kid, I've got a decent grip on it all.''

Kean has been ranked as high as No 7 in the world in the 200m backstroke. He won a silver medal in that event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi but disappointed at the 2012 London Olympics.

Kean's long-time coach, Gary Hurring, has seen the writing on the wall.

Hurring hasn't probed Kean about his future plans but there have to be doubts about whether Kean will be able to manage a successful comeback or in fact come back at all.

''My priority as a coach is always the athlete and how they are as people,'' Hurring said.

''I'm happy to see that Gareth is happy with his decision. He's seems in a better place. He was very indecisive for a while. I won't say I'm not disappointed to see him have a break but it is important that it is in his best interests.''

Kean is making noises about returning in time for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

''I haven't probed on that too much,'' Hurring said.

''He likes to keep his doors open. I'd love to see him come back. He has unfinished business.

Ad Feedback

''To have a shot at Rio he will need at least a year in the pool beforehand. The longer you stay away the harder it is to come back at high level. There will be a fair bit of training required to get him up to speed again. Gareth is a special person, he may be able to do that.

''It's in the lap of the gods, or the lap of Gareth. Time out could be a good thing. He might come back with some real resolve.''

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content