2016 Paralympic Gold Medalist Steph Slater Retires at 27

2016 Paralympic gold medalist Stephanie Slater of the UK has decided to retire from swimming at the age of 27 because the degeneration of her conditions could potentially cause further injury if she continues.

The 27-year-old  said: “I have thought long and hard and explored all options with my medical and support teams about this hard decision but at the end of the day I have to think about my health and well-being long-term.

“It came down to the fact that just one wrong dive or turn could cause a life-changing injury. “It is heartbreaking for me because I felt potentially I had more to give. I have sadly been battling for the last 3 years with a decline in my health and this must be my number one priority now.”

Slater was on an international-level path as a youth able-bodied swimmer before and eventually moved to train at the National Performance Centre in Swansea. She dove into the pool during a training session one day and sustained an injury to her arm. That injury was eventually diagnosed as nerve damage to her brachial plexus involved with the function of most of the upper arm.

After the injury, she was a volunteer at the 2012 Paralympics and was inspired to return to the para side of the sport. A year later, she earned 2 silver medals and a gold at the 2013 IPC World Championships in her first major para meet – the start of a successful para career. In 2014, she set a European Record in the S8 100 free at the Commonwealth Games, and a week later won 5 individual and 2 relay golds at the European Championships and broke her first World Record in the S9 100 fly.

Swimming in her first Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio, she won gold in the 400 medley relay (34 points) and silver in the S8 100 fly.

The 27-year-old said: “I have thought long and hard and explored all options with my medical and support teams about this hard decision but at the end of the day I have to think about my health and well-being long-term.

“It came down to the fact that just one wrong dive or turn could cause a life-changing injury. “It is heartbreaking for me because I felt potentially I had more to give. I have sadly been battling for the last 3 years with a decline in my health and this must be my number one priority now.”

After retirement, Slater says that she’s going to explore career opportunities in para-sport.

“I’m really looking forward to embarking on a new challenge in my life – but think it might be a while for it to fully sink in that I’m retired!

Swimming has enriched my life and taught me invaluable life skills. I have travelled the world and met so many influential people and inspirational athletes. Most of all I have made lifelong friends.”

There are so many people I would like to thank who have been such a big part of my swimming career.  I would like to thank UK Sport for their continued support, the staff and athletes at British Para-Swimming especially at the National Performance Centre, Manchester and the staff at the English Institute of Sport. Without all of their help, support and friendship I would never have achieved my goals.

Thank you to Preston Swimming Club for supporting me since the age of 4 and coach Steve Heaps for always going above and beyond. Thank you to my family for all the sacrifices they have made and all the opportunities and encouragement they have given me. Finally, to my friends and supporters for their amazing continued support over the years.”

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LMA

All the very best for your future Stephanie. Your story and your big heart is incredibly humbling and inspiring.

Mark

Who can dislike this statement is beyond me !!!
For one Steph is a great roll model in a sport corrupt with cheating

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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