French swimming star and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel has officially announced his retirement from the sport. Agnel had already announced his intent to retire this year even before the 2016 Olympics.
Agnel took to social media today to officialize his retirement. He posted a farewell letter to his Facebook page and linked to the message from his official Twitter account. In the post, Agnel thanks his family, friends and fans while expressing excitement about his future endeavors.
The Facebook post is in Agnel’s native French. You can find it here. Agnel says his stomach is “in knots” as he writes, but also expresses excitement for the next phase of life. “It is time to sail on to other horizons,” he writes, in a rough translation of the French. “Life is full of too many riches and curiosities to confine it to chlorinated water.”
“It has been an immense pride and honor to represent my country through these competitions,” he writes.
Agnel was a nearly unstoppable force in the 200 free for a few years, winning the 2012 Olympic gold as well as the 2013 World Championships title. He was part of France’s run of dominance in the 4×100 free relay, joining that team for gold in 2012 and 2013. Beginning in 2014, though, Agnel’s star faded. He slid to bronze in the 200 free at the 2014 European Championships, withdrew from the 2015 World Championships and then barely scraped his way into the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He remains one of France’s most decorated swimmers internationally. He also still holds the short course 400 meter freestyle world record, which he set at French Nationals in 2012.