Olympic Silver Medalist Pieter Timmers To Retire Before 2021 Olympics

Pieter Timmers waves goodbye to swimming; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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An extra year until the Tokyo Olympics was too much to wait for Belgian Pieter Timmers. The silver medalist in the 100 freestyle announced Thursday via the Belgian Swimming Federation that he will retire at the end of 2020 and not pursue the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

Timmers spoke to the Belgian federation explaining his decision and did a television appearance Thursday.

Pieter Timmers was a surprise medalist in the 100 free in Rio, beating London Olympic champion Nathan Adrian to second place behind Australian gold medalist Kyle Chalmers. Timmers, who entered the Rio Games ranked 35th in the world in the event, lowered the national record to 47.80 and became the first Belgian swimming medalist at the Olympics since 1996 (Fred Deburghgraeve). He also helped Belgium make the finals of the 400 and 800 free relays. Belgium won a total of six medals in Rio and Timmers was able to contribue to that tally.

Other plans have superseded swimming aspirations for Timmers, 32, and waiting out the 16-month postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic tipped the balance for him. He has a three-year-old daughter and has reportedly suffered health issues since Rio, including a bout of viral meningitis that kept him out of the 2018 European Championships. Timmers also suffered a collapsed lung, the third of his career, in November 2018. He didn’t make the finals of the 100 free at either the 2017 or 2019 World Championships, finishing 16th both times.

His season best in 2019 of 48.32 put him 24th in the world. As for 2020, Pieter Timmers was ranked 14th in the world in the 100 freestyle at 48.99 that he swam at the FINA Champions Swim Series in China in January.


Pieter Timmers holding up his silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in the 100 freestyle; Photo Courtesy: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

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3 years ago

He had a great career ,ranking 39th in the world and winning olympic silver