Bahamian sprinter Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, a former NCAA Champion, has said that she’s not certain if she’ll continue swimming competitively or not, but that her next stop will be a return to Auburn University as a graduate assistant.
The statement, posted on her social media accounts on Sunday, says that she “never say that she is disappointed or that she failed,” even though she didn’t achieve her goal of an Olympic medal.
Vanderpool-Wallace placed 18th in the 100 free prelims on Wednesday, which was a tuneup for the 50 free – her primary event. In that swim, she was a 24.77 in prelims to qualify 13th for the semi-finals, and then dropped her time to a 24.60 in the semi-finals. That, however, left her in 9th place and out of the final.
Vanderpool Wallace is a three-time Olympian who was 24th in the 50 free at the 2008 Olympics and 8th at the 2012 Olympics, making her the first-ever Bahamian to final at the Olympics.
After finishing her college career at Auburn University, where she was a three-time NCAA Champion and broke multiple NCAA and U.S. Open Records, she moved to Charlotte to train with SwimMAC Carolina. There she was coached by U.S. Olympic head women’s coach David Marsh.
Her full message is below:
Figuring out what to say to sum up these Olympic Games has been one of the hardest things I’ve done.
Because I have been an elite athlete for so long my life has basically worked in 4 year life cycles, at which I have found myself at the end. The end of another era in my 26 years of life. I don’t think many people understand the grit and determination it takes to dedicate yourself to a goal like Olympic medalist. The belief in yourself and in those around you to lift you up, to make yourself as well as everyone around you better. It’s a rough and grueling 4 years full of highs and lows. Which is what makes it all worth it.
I don’t regret any of my sacrifices or my decisions in the past four years because although they did not yield an Olympic medal, these four years were full of new and incredible friends, coaches and mentors who have molded me into the person I will take into this next era. What I gained in the past 4 years is priceless.
I appreciate everyone that has been part of my squad and has sent me encouraging messages along the way, you are an integral part of this journey as well.
A couple days ago I said I was okay and that’s not 100% true. I hurt, and I’m sad because I know what I am capable of, what I have trained for and that sucks. But I will never say that I am disappointed or that I failed. Because how can you feel that when you put your heart and soul on the line? I believe in God and that his plan for me is embedded in my daily walk and that whatever comes next I am walking with him.
I haven’t made a decision yet on what is to become of my swimming career, but I am excited about my next step which is returning to Auburn University to pursue a masters as well as assist with the swimming and diving team as a graduate assistant.
I’m excited for this bright and exciting future that stands before me. And I hope that this next era can be as incredible as the last.