LONDON, England, September 19. GEMMA Spofforth, who won NCAA titles and a 2009 world championship title, is retiring from competitive swimming, but will still stay connected to the sport and is set to tell her emotional story in an autobiography.
Spofforth ended her career by finishing fifth in the 100 backstroke at this year's Olympics, an amazing finish in itself, given that Spofforth had dealt with numerous personal issues since winning the 2009 world title in the event and setting the current world record of 58.12. The emotional stress of dealing with her mother's passing from bowel cancer in 2007 was taking its toll, as well as the death of her father's girlfriend in 2011 from cancer. Spofforth told the Guardian newspaper in May that she had considered suicide a couple of times, a surprise considering her work as a volunteer with a suicide crisis hotline in Florida.
Spofforth fought back to make the British Olympic team and swam her final race in front of a home crowd in London. She will remain involved in swimming, according to today's article by Craig Lord in the London Times, as a volunteer coach at the University of Florida. Spofforth was a three-time NCAA champion in the 100 backstroke for the Gators, and helped them win the national title in 2010.
Spofforth has written an autobiography, titled “Dealing With It: Five Years of Mourning, Medals and Men,” set for publication soon. The work is based on journal entries she has kept for the past five years.
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