French Olympic Champion Clement Lefert Retires, Turns Down Chance to Represent USC

LOS ANGELES, California, September 14. CLEMENT Lefert is ending his swimming career on top, announcing his retirement today, instead of attending the University of Southern California for a final swimming season.

Lefert's annoucement came in an article published today by Reuters, and it means he is not taking advantage of the Olympic redshirt waiver he told Swimming World he would pursue this school year. Lefert did not compete in the 2011-2012 NCAA season, choosing to compete at the French Olympic Trials. That meet was held the same week as the men's NCAA championships.

Lefert not only qualified for the Olympic team, but he left London with a gold in the 400 freestyle relay and silver in the 800 freestyle relay.

In his interview on “The Morning Swim Show” last November, Lefert said he would consider pursuing a special Olympic redshirt waiver, which could allow him to compete in the 2012-2013 season for the Trojans. Some swimmers, such as Indiana's Eric Ress, have used this option to bypass the NCAA season that falls during the Olympic cycle. The Olympic waiver is especially helpful for people such as Lefert and Ress, who previously used their one redshirt year to recover from injury.

Lefert's “Morning Swim Show” interview:

In the Reuters article, Lefert said he's concerned that he will not be able to have the kind of financial freedom as a professional swimmer in France that others such as Yannick Agnel and Camille Lacourt enjoy.

“I want to have a job I like, not one I would not have chosen and I am fully aware that swimming will never make me free from want,” he said.

To that end, Lefert is attending business school at EDHEC in Nice.

Lefert's best individual finish at the NCAAs was third place in the 500 freestyle at the 2010 championships and third in the 200 free at the 2011 meet.

Full text of Reuters article