By Stephen J. Thomas
PERTH, Australia, Jan. 30. AUSTRALIAN Olympic and world champion, Bill Kirby has announced his retirement from international swimming after nine years as a regular member of the Australian National Swimming Team.
In a successful career, Kirby was part of six world record relay teams (800m short course and long course), won three National open titles, held over fifty state (West Australian) records and competed in every major international swimming competition.
The highlight of his career came at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, when he joined Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim and fellow West Australian Todd Pearson as part of Australia's gold medal winning 800 free relay team.
He followed that with another spectacular performance with Thorpe, Klim and Grant Hackett to win gold at the World Championships in world record-breaking time last year in Fukuoka.
Individually, Kirby won silver in the 200m butterfly at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
At the age of twenty-six, he retires to focus on developing a career in coaching back in his home town of Perth. Kirby had been training for the past few years at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra under Canadian born coach Jim Fowlie. Coincidently Fowlie resigned from the AIS in December to take up an elite coaching position back in Canada in March.