Australian Olympic Gold Medalist Brittany Elmslie Retires at Age 24

Five-time Olympic medalist Brittany Elmslie, whose international accolades include being part of Australia’s record-setting 4×100 free relay at the 2016 Rio Games, announced her retirement at the age of today on Instagram, just two months shy of her 25th birthday.

THANK YOU SWIMMING❤️ It as challenging to have to summarise my swimming journey. After 12 years of dedicating my mind, body and soul to the pursuit of excellence I can proudly announce that my competitive swimming journey has come to an end. I can’t put into words the amount of respect I hold for the sport and the incredible people who I have shared this chapter of my life with. 2 Olympic Games, 2 World Championships, a Commonwealth Games, a Pan Pacs, a World Short Course, multiple World Cups, multiple junior AUS teams and countless domestic competitions are just the surface of the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to experience. I am incredibly proud of the medals I won throughout this journey yet the thing I am most grateful for are the unforgettable memories I made with so many amazing humans.

The positive impact Swimming has had on my life is overwhelming which is why I will still be passionately involved with giving back to the sport that gave me so much. Life is too short to waste any days not challenging yourself. Sometimes that means letting go of something that once was the spark of your purpose but as you grow as a person I have learnt that the spark shifts and you owe it to yourself to continue chasing what makes you feel most alive!

Elmslie first emerged on the junior scene, representing Australia at junior international meets as a teenager. She made her first senior international team in 2012 when she was selected for multiple Olympic relay squads. In London, she earned a gold medal as part of the 4×100 free team, where she swam finals, and she also earned two silver medals for her prelims swims on the 4×200 free and 4×100 medley relays.

Since then, Elmslie has been a relay fixture for Australia, earning another two Olympic medals, three long course and two short course World Championship medals, two Pan Pacific medals, and three Commonwealth Games medals. Most of that hardware came on relay teams, but she took gold in the 100 free at the 2016 Short Course World Championships in Windsor, and bronze in the 50 fly at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She was also slated to compete at the 2015 World Championships, but had to pull out due to surgery to remove a tumor. She recovered from that surgery well, and joined with Emma McKeon, Bronte Campbell, and Cate Campbell to break the 4×100 free world record in Rio, where she split a 53.12 as part of a 3:30.65 effort. Three of those four swimmers again broke the world record last year, with Elmslie being replaced by Shayna Jack.

Elmslie most recently competed at the Australian Nationals, where she finished 8th in the 100 free with a time of 55.72. While she might have been able to compete for a relay spot for this summer at June’s trials, she ends her career with plenty of international accolades, an with the Australia women still looking strong after three swimmers went 53.2 or faster two weeks ago.

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A Concerned Citizen
1 year ago

I too was “Today” years old when I heard about this.

Reply to  A Concerned Citizen
1 year ago

wow , how did u find that all by yourself ? LOL😅

1 year ago

It is always sad a little bit when we have to leave some significant part of our life to the history. Some people are leaving the sport without much regrets like probably Maya DiRado did who had had already a more significant goal in her life. Some others are starting urgently looking for replacement realizing at some point in their life that competitive swimming isn’t all that human life is consisting of.
25 – Is it really the time to go? Sjostrom just started to peak at this age. Campbell is promising to please us in two more Olympics, the rusty lady is going to make living by swimming well beyond her 30. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Every swimmer is different

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 year ago

totally agreed – Each swimmers Destiny or trajectory is diversely different and Inspiring

Miss M
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

For some more background on the personal struggles Britt has overcome, see this article from last year.

For Britt, 25 seems the perfect age to retire and I’ve forward into the next phase of her life.

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

It’s tough, but I often think that too many US swimmers hang around too long. Swimming is brutal in the US: it requires 100% commitment and unless you’re an Olympic medalist, no one cares. It’s got to be hard to give up something that means so much to you, especially if you’re top ten in the world and so close to the podium. It’s also got to be hard to justify continuing when you’re living in a cheap apartment in Phoenix with four other swimmers, borrowing money from your parents and hoping to maybe qualify for that next national team.

1 year ago

Happy swimming retirement Brit ! Good luck in your future endeavours . What an inspiration you have been to our young swimmers .