200 Breast Olympic Champion Rie Kaneto Announces Retirement

Brewing for a while now, Japanese Olympic champion Rie Kaneto has officially submitted her retirement papers to her nation’s swimming federation, with a formal press conference scheduled for March 16th.

The women’s 200m breaststroke gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Games has been contemplating retirement since last year, having opted out of the 2017 World Championships and not competing in any World Cup or elite domestic meets. Instead, she has racked up the outside-the-pool accolades of being an Olympic champion, having been awarded the Citizens Medal of Honor, as well as being recognized by her Hiroshima Prefecture in the form of a bronze statue.

The now-29-year-old had an unusual career path, not achieving her biggest success until she was 28 years of age. She found herself failing to make the 2012 Olympic team after having been in Japan’s line-up at just 19 at the Beijing Games and Kaneto considered quitting the sport several times until she grinded her way to a breakthrough.

Kaneto cranked out a new national record (and All Comers Record) in the 200m breaststroke while competing at the Aquatic Super Series in Perth, Australia in early 2016.

She followed that up with another record-breaking performance at Japan’s Olympic Trials in April of that year, touching in a monster time of 2:19.65, a mark that remains as the 7th fastest performance of all time. Her confidence-building swims finally came to a head in Rio, where she beat out Russia’s Yulia Efimova to stand atop the podium at 27 years of age.

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3 years ago

I think the entire world cheered when she beat Efimova in Rio, truly an amazing swim.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Dudeman
3 years ago

My own eyewitness report: The Russian team did not.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
3 years ago

Lol everyone in their right mind cheered for her!

Reply to  Dudeman
3 years ago

Wasn’t she competing under TUE?

3 years ago

congratulations on a great career!

3 years ago

She’s a testament to the power of perseverance, and what a beautiful stroke she had! Easily my favorite non-US win in Rio. May retirement treat you well, Rie.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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