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By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
BARCELONA, Spain, August 4. 2008 Olympic silver medalist and longtime member of the U.S. National Swim Team, Christine Magnuson, has officially announced her retirement from the sport, just as the excitement in Barcelona was dying down.
The rumor is out! Tis true. This was my last meet as a swimmer! It’s been an amazing ride & a privilege!— Christine Magnuson (@cmagsflyer) August 4, 2013
Thank you to all my coaches and teammates along the way! You have made these past years a truly remarkable experience!— Christine Magnuson (@cmagsflyer) August 4, 2013
The 27-year old finished her career with two Olympic medals: in 2008, she earned silver in the 100 butterfly, and a matching silver from the 400 medley relay. Her incredible Olympic performance was the perfect cap to the end of a fabulous senior year with the Tennessee Lady Vols. Magnuson was only the fourth swimmer in school history to win a national title, when she won the 100 butterfly at the 2008 NCAA Championships. The team finished 8th that year, and upon Magnuson’s graduation, was unable to break back into the top 10 until 2012. Magnuson still owns the Tennessee school record in the 100 butterfly: her time of 50.70 from 2008 has survived five seasons and multiple suits.
Upon graduating, Magnuson moved to Tucson, Ariz., to train with the post-graduate group at the University of Arizona. In 2009, she was unable to repeat her podium performance in the 100 butterfly, finishing 10th in the semi-finals at World Championships. Magnuson went on to win a silver medal behind Dana Vollmer at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships in the 100 butterfly, and took home another silver from 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, where she swam the butterfly leg of the USA’s medley relay in prelims.
Dreams of improving upon her second-place finish in Beijing were shattered at the 2012 Olympic trials, when Magnuson’s valiant efforts to earn her ticket to London came up short. She finished 6th in the 100 butterfly, but returned on the final evening of competition for the 50 freestyle, coming painfully close, but ending up in third by a mere 5 hundredths of a second.
Magnuson did not let disappointment stand in her way of representing Team USA again, however. She continued to train following Olympic Trials, and punched her ticket to Barcelona when she won the 50 butterfly at World Championship Trials. In Barcelona, Magnuson once again stood on the blocks sporting the stars and stripes, and finished 10th in the semi-finals of her event. Although she did not get the chance to earn another medal for her collection, she proved her unwavering tenacity. As she moves forward to the next stage of her life, no doubt this attribute alone will bring her success in any challenge she faces.
Congratulations, Christine, on a fabulous career. You have made your country proud time and again, and not simply because of the times you stood on the podium, but because of the wonderful example you have set for young swimmers everywhere. You will be missed on pool decks across the United States and the world.
Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M’s first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.
Follow her on twitter @juliah2o