SYDNEY, Australia, October 29. GEOFF Huegill made his intentions known that he would retire after missing out on a spot on the 2012 Australian Olympic team, and the 33-year-old made his retirement official today in an announcement via Swimming Australia.
“This time it's definitely it,” Huegill said. “I've retired once before, and a lot of people have reminded me about that, but this is it. I'll keep swimming because I love the sport, but my serious racing days are over.”
Huegill impressed the worldwide swimming community when he made a return to the sport in 2008 as a way to lose nearly 100 pounds. In addition to his weight loss campaign, Huegill made a decision to re-enter competitive swimming, making the Australian international team roster for the 2010 Pan Pacific championships and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At those Commonwealth Games, he set a personal best of 51.69 to win the 100 fly gold medal.
Huegill was also a part of the 2011 world championships, where he helped the Aussies win silver in the 400 medley relay, won a bronze medal in the 50 fly and finished eighth in the 100 butterfly.
Though he had spent two years as the fastest 100 butterflyer in Australia, Huegill was unable to fulfill his goal of making the 2012 Olympic team, finishing fifth in the event at the Australian Olympic Trials.
“To return to the national team was a huge bonus and while a third Olympic Games in London was always the dream, I leave competitive swimming very content with what I've been able to achieve,” Huegill said.
Huegill, known in swimming circles as “Skippy,” is regarded as one of Australia's most legendary swimmers, thanks to impressive performances at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. He won a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly and 400 medley relay, with that 100 fly win coming in a close match with teammate Michael Klim and the eventual winner, Sweden's Lars Frolander.
Watch video of the 100 fly final from Sydney:
Huegill stayed in the sport for the 2004 Olympics, finishing eighth in the 100 fly in Athens. He retired shortly thereafter, and said at the time that he suffered from severe depression and had turned to drug use, excessive eating and alcohol to battle the depression.
Huegill met future wife Sara Hills in 2007, and the two married in 2011. The Huegills welcomed a daughter, Mila, in January 2012.
“Geoff has experienced so many highs and lows in his swimming career, and the real test of character for an athlete is to learn from both of those, and Skippy has certainly done that,” said national team head coach Leigh Nugent. “I'm sure everyone in swimming wishes Geoff the best in his future endeavours and we hope to keep him involved in the sport at some level.”
Special thanks to Swimming Australia for contributing to this article.