Texas senior Grace Ariola announced her retirement from swimming Tuesday night on Instagram. Ariola raced exhibition in Texas’ dual with Incarnate Word last Friday, marking her first race since the 2020 Big 12 Championships, in February of 2020. She swam a 23.76 50 free last week.
Ariola has been dealing with undisclosed health issues for the past several years. She shed some light on the conditions she’s been battling in her IG post, saying she got a viral illness her freshman year that took months to recover from. “Turns out, I never really did,” Ariola wrote about the illness in her post. She goes on to explain that she later developed chronic fatigue syndrome and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), a condition that affects the volume of blood flow, and leads to rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
It’s due to these conditions that Ariola says she’s medically retiring from competition, saying “I’ve fought it for so long, put my everything into trying to get back. I’ve realized that’s not what my body needs anymore.”
“This is an act of love. I am so grateful for the people I loved in swimming and because of swimming. The trips, the camps, the meets, college. It made it worth it. You made it worth it. Now we go on.”
You can read Ariola’s Instagram post in full below:
View this post on Instagram
Ariola was a member of the 2018-2019 USA Swimming National Team, and 3x National Junior Team member. At the 2017 World Junior Championships in Indianapolis, Ariola was named one of Team USA’s captains. She went on to win Bronze in the 50 back at those World Juniors, plus 3 relay Silver medals. Ariola also was a member of the Gold medal winning women’s 4×100 free relay at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacs.
In her freshman year with Texas, Ariola tied the school record in the 50 free with a 21.73. She was also a 2x All-American and a 2x Honorable Mention All-American that season, helping the Texas 200 free and 400 free relays to A finals appearances at NCAAs. Ariola was also the 2019 Big 12 Champion in the 50 free, and a member of 4 Big 12 title-winning relays that year. For her efforts, Ariola was named both the Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year, and the 2019 Newcomer of the Meet at the Big 12 Championships.
Ariola is originally from Illinois, where she grew up as a member of the Waves Bloomington/Normal Y swim team. She still currently holds 21 individual Illinois Swimming records.