Three-time Olympian and former Cal Bear, Dominik Meichtry, formally announced his retirement today via Twitter. As a middle distance freestyler, Meichtry broke onto the international stage in 2002 when he qualified for the European Championships. He has been on the Swiss National Team for the past 12 years and has served as their captain over the last 5 years. Throughout his career, he won 31 national titles; 25 of which were Gold. As a Cal Bear, he was NCAA All-American and is attributed with several different accomplishments (Courtesy Cal Athletics):
- Was the 2007 Pac-10 Champion in the 200 free
- Placed third in the 200 free and eighth in the 500 free at the 2006 NCAA Championships
- Named 2005 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year
- Member of Bears’ 800 free relay that placed seventh at the 2005 NCAA Championships
- Has the school’s second-best all-time mark in the 200 free (1:33.45), set in 2007
- Has the school’s second-best all-time mark in the 500 free (4:15.89), set in 2006
- Has the school’s eighth-best all-time mark in the 1000 free (9:04.43), set in 2006
- Swam lead-off leg of school-record 800 free relay (6:21.02), set in 2006
Meichtry is married to US Olympian, Jessica Hardy. He tweeted out a well-written letter to announce his retirement. You can read what he wrote below:
It is with a full heart that I announce my departure as a competitive athlete in the pool. I am forever grateful for being able to represent Switzerland on the international stage for the past 12 years, of which I was voted captain from my peers for the last 5. I have made more experiences, opportunities, and accomplishments than I ever could have dreamed of before beginning my journey asa young swimmer. I was able to travel the world doing what I loved and made friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime.
I still can’t believe that I was fortunate enough to be offered a swimming scholarship to UC Berkeley. I am equally proud to be able to say that I was able to compete with the fastest swimmers in history; that I was in an Olympic Final; that I won over 30 Swiss national titles.
None of this would have been made possible without support along the way. A special testament goes out to my family, for helping nurture my dreams from the very beginning. A big thank you to my coaches along my journey: Harry Wright (HK), Peter Williams (RSA), Mike Bottom, Nort Thornton, Bart Kizierowski, David Durden, Greg Meehan, Dave Salo and of course my Swiss coaches Gerard Moerland and Flemming Poulsen. Thank you to SchwimmClub Uster Wallisellen, Swiss Swimming, Swiss Olympic and of course Speedo for making what I did possible.
Swimming isn’t seen as a national sport yet in Switzerland, but I hope through my achievements in the pool that I was able convince some of todays young swimmers to give swimming a chance. Swimming has taught me life lessons that I will take with me on my next adventures. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice truly will make dreams come true.
Although I am stepping away from the sport as an athlete, it is my goal to stay connected to our wonderful community, promoting these ideals. I plan on continuing to support swimming as an advisor to the sport. In connection with the International Meeting in Uster, Switzerland (www.imu.ch), I will be hosting a clinic. Details are to follow.
So, although my days as an athlete are now behind me, I will still see everyone on a pool deck sometime soon.
Thanks again for being a part of my dream.