Gerhard Zandberg Announces Retirement After Ordeal With South Africa Federation

PRETORIA, South Africa, October 16. SOUTH African Gerhard Zandberg announced his retirement from competitive swimming today, ending a career that had him on the world championships podium numerous times.

Today…my swimming career has come to an end. @Joffersmyboy @JeanSmyth– Gerhard Zandberg (@ZandbergGerhard) October 16, 2013

At this summer’s world championships, Zandberg was looking to join Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win medals in the same event at five world championships. Zandberg won gold in the 50 backstroke at the 2007 worlds in Australia, and was the bronze medalist in that event in 2003, 2009 and 2011. Zandberg placed 13th in this year’s 50 backstroke in Barcelona.

In addition to his world championship accomplishments, Zandberg competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. His only appearance in an Olympic final was in the 400 medley relay in 2008, when South Africa placed seventh.

Zandberg drew fire from the South Africa swimming federation during worlds this summer for switching hotel rooms to avoid catching germs from roommate Cameron van der Burgh. In addition to a 5,000 Rand fine, Zandberg was given a two-year suspension last month and forced to participate in a year of community service.

Zandberg appealed the decision in the hopes that reinstatement would allow him to compete in the World Cup meets, but Swimming South Africa dragged its heels on announcing a final verdict. A report from The Citizen says that the federation was set to issue a report on Zandberg’s appeal today, but Swimming South Africa has not yet released a statement. Zandberg’s retirement announcement seems to answer the question regarding the federation’s ruling.