Two-time Icelandic Olympian Hrafnhildur “Hilda” Luthersdottir has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. The 26-year old represented her native country at both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Luthersdottir is one of her country’s most-accomplished swimmers. At the 2016 pre-Olympic European long course championships, she won 3 medals: silver in the 50 and 100 breaststroke and a bronze in the 200 breaststroke. She was the first-ever Icelandic swimmer to medal at that meet. She was also a dominant force at the Games of the Small States of Europe, a multi-sport event that is well-regarded among its 8 participating nations. In total, she won 24 gold and 1 silver medal in her career at that event, including 4 golds in 2009 when she was just 17 years old.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, she became the first-ever female swimmer from her country to compete in an Olympic final. She finished 6th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.18 and 11th in the 200 breaststroke in 2:24.11.
She finished 10th at Worlds last summer in the 50 breaststroke and 18th in the 100; and then at the European Short Course Championships she placed a high of 5th-place in the 50 breaststroke.
In total, she holds 11 individual Icelandic records (including every available senior record in the breaststroke and IM events), and also is a part of the national record holding relays in 7 events.
She also swam as an undergraduate at the University of Florida in the United States. There she was a 12-time CSCAA All-America selection, a 3-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a Scholar All-American, and still holds school records in the 100 and 200 yard breaststrokes.
She announced her decision last week on her Instagram account:
“After thinking for a long time, I have finally made the difficult decision of retiring from swimming. This is not a decision made out of hatred for the sport that I have grown up loving and enjoying, or because of any injury. This is solely because I feel like the time has come for me to hang up my swimsuit and pursue other adventures. I will always love swimming and will never fully part ways with the swimming community as I wish to always work with upcoming swimmers as well as the federation to make swimming a better sport. I have accomplished everything I wanted and more, but the most valuable thing I have gained from this whole experience are the friends along the way that have enriched my life in ways they can’t even imagine. And of course I can’t forget to mention my wonderful boyfriend, someone I never would have met if it weren’t for swimming. For these people I will forever be grateful, and without swimming I would never have become the woman I am today.
Thank you to all of you for your support and love throughout the years