PHOENIX, Arizona, December 18. ALEKSANDER Hetland has reportedly ended his swimming career on one of the highest notes possible, winning the short course world championship title in the 50 breaststroke on Sunday in Turkey.
An article on the Speed Endurance Swimming blog quotes Hetland, 29, as saying that the final of the 50 breast in Istanbul was going to be his final race, no matter the result.
“As I took that last stroke I was actually thinking – this is your last stroke, make it count”, said Hetland.
Hetland won the race with a 26.30 in a close battle with Slovenia's Damir Dugonjic and France's Florent Manaudou. The 50 breast was Hetland's only race of the meet.
Watch video of the 50 breast final:
As was reported in the event recap on swimmingworld.com, this was Norway's first short course world championship victory in the short course version of the meet. Hetland's win furthered the country's breaststroke success, and took place about eight months after teammate and long course world champion Alexander Dale Oen passed away suddenly in May.
Hetland had won a bronze medal in the 50 breast at the 2010 short course worlds, and competed in the 2008 Olympics. He had a quiet but successful collegiate career in the United States, breaking numerous NCAA Division II records in 2009, representing the University of Tampa. Hetland remained in Tampa after his collegiate career, and trained there in preparation for the short course worlds. Before his one season at Tampa, Hetland swam at Southern Methodist University, earning All-America status in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
As mentioned in the Speed Endurance Swimming Blog, Hetland will continue to be involved with the sport in Norway, attending a junior camp in January and considering a long-term role as mentor to younger swimmers. He also isn't completely shutting the door on his swimming career, saying “We'll have to wait and see. Anything can happen, but now I'm having a long break.”