NICE, France, July 12. CAMILLE Muffat, the reigning Olympic champion in the 400 freestyle, announced her retirement today via the French sports newspaper L’Equipe, ending a career that spanned more than a decade at the elite international level.
The announcement comes a week after Muffat suddenly withdrew from the French Open with little explanation. Speculation had grown that Muffat and coach Fabrice Pellerin had a major disagreement, but Muffat shot that rumor down in the L’Equipe article.
“I do not blame anyone,” she said.
Muffat had not been at the top of her game since holding off American Allison Schmitt to win gold in the 400 free in London. She finished seventh in the 400 free at last year’s world championships, but rallied to take the bronze in the 200 free in Barcelona. Muffat won silver in the 200 free at the London Games.
The 24-year-old’s departure from the sport will put a major dent in France’s medal hopes at next month’s European championships. Muffat has long been a strong presence for Gaul in the 800 free relay and has contributed in the 400 free relay as well.
Muffat’s international career also included a stint as an individual medley swimmer, and she still holds the French record in the 200 IM with a 2:09.37. She swam both IMs at the 2008 Olympics, though she didn’t advance out of prelims. She switched her focus to freestyle in 2011, resulting in bronze medals at the world championships in the 200 and 400 freestyles.