19-Event Swiss Record Holder Maria Ugolkova Announces Her Retirement

Two-time Olympic qualifier and Swiss Record holder Maria Ugolkova has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. At 33-years old, she says she’s ready to explore life outside of the pool.

“It was a long season for me after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, that was already postponed for one year, and I took my time to rest and think about my future after (the 2022 European Championships) in Rome,” Ugolkova told SwimSwam on Monday. “I am now 33 years old, and I want to consider and explore my other career path in finance.”

Ugolkova has a master’s degree in banking and finance, in which she says she’s always had an interest.

“Swimming was and will always be a big and very important part of my life and who I am, but I feel that now is the right time to explore the world outside swimming. It is the decision that comes of course with a heavy heart, but I’m excited about what is coming next.”

Ugolkova has three European Championship medals in her career: a bronze in the 200 IM at the 2018 long course championships, and silvers in both 2019 and 2021 in short course.

Ugolkova retires with 19 Swiss Records, including 10 in individual events. That is the most, in both categories, among current Swiss Record holders.

While Ugolkova is into her 30s, past the age where most swimmers peak, she has continued to post lifetime bests. Of those 10 individual Swiss Records, seven have come in the last 18 months.

At the 2016 Olympics, Ugolkova was one of four women who competed. She finished 23rd in the 100 free (54.85), 19th in the 200 IM (2:13.77), and swam the third leg of the 14th-place 400 free relay.

In Tokyo, she was one of just two women who raced for Switzerland, finishing 26th in the 100 free (46.86) and 9th in the semi-finals of the 200 IM (2:10.65). Her prelims time of 2:10.04, which qualified her 5th for semis, would have put her into the final if she had repeated it in her second swim.

Ugolkova’s Individual Swiss National Records at Retirement:

  • 200 LCM Free – 1:58.77 (June 2017)
  • 100 LCM Fly – 58.22 (July 2021)
  • 200 LCM IM – 2:10.04 (July 2021)
  • 200 SCM Free – 1:56.35 (November 2019)
  • 200 SCM Backstroke – 2:08.07 (March 2019)
  • 100 SCM Fly – 56.81 (October 2021)
  • 200 SCM Fly – 2:06.26 (December 2021)
  • 100 SCM IM – 58.25 (December 2021)
  • 200 SCM IM – 2:06.41 (November 2021)
  • 400 SCM IM – 4:33.51 (October 2021)

In the last two meets of his career, Ugolkova had a best finish of 9th in the semi-finals of the 200 IM (2:11.06), and then finished a best of 6th in the 200 IM (2:12.56) at the European Championships).

Ugolkova was also a substantial contributor for Iron of the International Swimming League, In the 2021 season, she tied for 92nd in the league with 122 points (15.25/match). That ranked her 11th among Iron swimmers that year.

Ugolkova was born in Moscow and represented Russia internationally until 2015. She swam for Russia at a number of international meets, notably the 2012 European Championships. Her first meet representing Switzerland was, poetically, the 2015 World Championships that were held in Kazan, Russia.

Ugolkova speaks five languages: German, French, Italian, English, and Russian.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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