Commonwealth 400IM Champion & Three-Time Olympian Aimee Willmott Confirms Her Retirement

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Aimee Willmott: Photo Courtesy: Swim England

Commonwealth 400IM champion Aimee Willmott has confirmed her retirement after an 11-year senior international career that featured two Olympic finals.

The Briton last competed at Tokyo 2020 in which she finished seventh in the 400IM, matching her result from Rio 2016.

That followed her silver in the long medley at the European Championships in Budapest in May, her third medal over five editions.

The 28-year-old had spoken before Tokyo about her intention to retire and on Thursday she confirmed that her own competitive days were over.

It was a fine career that started at the 2010 European Championships in Budapest before she competed at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, later that year where she finished fifth and sixth in the 400IM and 200IM respectively as well as eighth in the 800 free.

Willmott went on to compete in the first of her three Olympics at London 2012, finishing 11th in the 400IM at her home Games, 28 years after her father Stuart raced the same event at Los Angeles 1984.

There were also three World Championships with seventh in Kazan, Russia, 2015 her best result and a trio of Commonwealth experiences for Team England.

There was a memorable battle with Hannah Miley at Glasgow 2014 in which the Scot prevailed with Willmott winning silver, an outcome she matched in the 200 fly before she claimed gold on Gold Coast.

Away from the pool, Aimee’s positive influence was felt as a senior leader in the swimming team and as an athlete representative with both British Swimming and on the Commonwealth Games England board.

She trained under Steven Tigg in Stirling since 2017, after a move from London, where she was mentored by Lisa Bates – the coach who oversaw her initial transition to the senior ranks at Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club. Both coaches have played crucial roles in her career.

Willmott said:

“I am so thankful to my teammates from over the years – they have made my journey and medal success so special.

“Not many people have a parent that went to an Olympic Games, let alone in the same sport and the same event, so I’m one of the lucky ones. My dad was with me during my very first length of the pool and has been with me every length since. He has of course had some pretty loud company in the stands, with incredible support from my mum and sister too!

“In 2017, I moved to Stirling, thinking my swimmer career would soon end – but here I am, hanging up my goggles more than four years later. Being around such an inspirational group of swimmers gave me the drive to keep going and better myself. I can’t thank my teammates enough for reminding me why I started swimming in the first place!”

Speaking of Willmott’s retirement, British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice was quick to pay tribute to her competitive impact in the water and on the athletes and staff around her as well.

“Aimee has been an outstanding team member for us for a very long time. Her long-standing position shows in the fact that she was our only third-time Olympian in Tokyo, making another valuable contribution to what was a special team.

“It takes a talented, devoted and resilient swimmer to qualify for three Olympic Games, and that is an achievement Aimee should be proud of, alongside her European and Commonwealth medals.

“She was also a valued member of our athlete representative group and as a senior leader in our team, and those roles, as much as her position as an elite and experienced swimmer, were ones she thrived in.

“I know she will be missed by fellow athletes, coaches and support staff at her University of Stirling training base. We wish Aimee all the best for the future and very much look forward to seeing what else she goes on to achieve from here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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