TOKYO, Japan, October 30. ONE day after 33-year-old Australian Geoff Huegill announced his official retirement from the sport, Japanese backstroker Aya Terakawa has stated her intentions to continue with the sport and train for next year's world championships — and possibly the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Terakawa, 27, told Japanese media today that she had considered making the London Games her swan song after more than 10 years as one of the country's top backstrokers. But bronze medals in the 100 back and the 400 medley relay caused her to change her thinking, and she is now set to return to training next month with a goal of competing in the 2013 long course world championships.
Terakawa has not ruled out the possibility of staying with the sport through the 2016 Olympics, saying she will “take it year by year.” If she were to make it to the Rio Games, it would be her third Olympics. She made her Games debut in 2004, placing eighth in the 200 backstroke. Terakawa gave up the 200 back to focus on the 100 after that, but found herself off the 2008 Olympic roster, finishing fourth in the 100 back at the Japanese Olympic Trials.
This year was Terakawa's best of her career. She broke the national record in the 100 back three times, and earned her first major international medal with a 58.83 in the 100 back final at the Olympics, good enough for third place behind Missy Franklin and Emily Seebohm. At 27 years old, Terakawa was the oldest competitor in the 100 backstroke final in London.
Today's announcement means all of Japan's 2012 Olympic swimming medalists are still active, and gives the country a chance to continue its Olympic success, when swimmers walked away with 11 medals, the second-highest total behind the United States.
Special thanks to Takahisa Ide for contributing to this article.