The British Open Water Swimming team took a big hit last week when British swimmer Cassie Patten announced her retirement via Twitter late last week. In 2008, Patten made history when she became the first ever 10km bronze medalist at the Olympic Games.
Patten is bowing out early at only 24-years old because of battles with shoulder injuries that have hampered her training. At the World Championships in Shanghai in July, she placed 21st in the women’s 10k, and then three days later recorded the only “Did Not Finish” of the 5k race. By way of her teammate Keri-Anne Payne’s win in that tokm race, Patten was automatically eliminated from Olympic qualifying contention.
This makes two of the 2008 Olympic medalists who have retired recently. Russia’s Larisa Ilchenko, the gold medalist in 2008, recently announced that she too was retiring after missing the World Championships with health issues. She left the door open for a possible return prior to the Portugal qualifying meet in June, but it did not sound promising. For both of these swimmers, it’s really a shame that they have to retire, as they had such promise as young swimmers. By the time Ilchenko turned 20, she had already won 8 World Championships and Olympic gold.
Best of luck to both women in their future career endeavors. Patten, for one, has taken up running, and has officially entered her first 10km run.
(Interesting story about Patten: Her last name came from her grandfather, who received it when he was found as an orphan on “Patten Lane” in Kent. Only two generations later, the Pattens produced an Olympic medalist. Isn’t that the true tale of the Olympic movement?)