A pair of Olympic swimmers have announced their official retirement from competitive swimming.
Chantal Can Landeghem, 23, and Dominique Bouchard, 26, both represented Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Van Landeghem won two bronze medals participating in Canada’s breakout relay competitions.
According to Swim Swam, Van Landeghem set the record for Canadian swimmers as a member of the 400 free relay.
“Obviously the Olympics were a huge highlight but in general just racing is probably the aspect of swimming I’ll miss most, I just loved that feeling of adrenalin behind the blocks. The opportunity to get to represent my country on the highest stage for me was probably one of the greatest honours of all,” she said. “More important, probably, is I’ll miss all the relationships and friendships I’ve made.”
Bouchard, who swam in college at Missouri, placed 12th in the 100 back and tied for 9th place in the 200 back — her best time came in 2015 at the World Championships.
“I think I did my job in bringing backstroke back to the forefront of Canadian swimming,” Bouchard said. “I gave everything I had to the sport. Maybe I didn’t have the glamorous career I would have liked but I think it all worked out for the best. I think I was able to help some people along the way and maybe inspire some kids from Northern Ontario.”
Swimming can burn a tremendous amount of calories in the body because so many different body parts are involved. A person can lose up to 800 to 900 calories in just a single hour of swimming. Professional swimmers like Van Landeghem and Bouchard have swam just about every day for nearly two decades. Now, they are finally hanging up their swimming caps and moving on to the next phase of their lives.
Van Landeghem told CBC News that retirement is always a tough decision for professional athletes, who have often dedicated their entire lives to training and competition. While some professional athletes decide to continue working in the sport as a trainer or coach for younger athletes, Van Landeghem is taking a bold step in a new direction.
CBC News reports that after swimming for 19 years, Van Landeghem plans on pursuing her master’s degree in clinical psychology with a focus on sports at the University of Manitoba.