Para World Record-holder Donovan Tildesley has announced his retirement from the competitive swimming at the age of 29.
Tildesley has earned 5 Paralympic medals for his home country of Canada competing in the division for blind athletes. He still holds long course world records in the 200 fly and 800 and 1500 freestyles for that category.
Tildesley qualified to represent Canada at the Para Pan Pacific Championships later this summer, but the soon-to-be 30-year-old has decided to forgo the opportunity. In a press release on the site of his home club, the UBC Dolphins, Tildesley emphasized what a difficult decision retirement was.
“Seems like every single meet I competed in I would finish on a high note and I would believe I had more in me,” Tildesley said. “But it was time to do the courageous thing and be satisfied with what I’ve accomplished in the sport and walk away with my head held high. It was one of the toughest decisions in my life.”
He’ll turn 30 in July, just a few weeks before Para Pan Pacs.
Tildesley has no shortage of international competitions on his resume. He’s competed in every Paralympics Games since the 2000 event in Sydney, and was named Canada’s official flag-bearer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He is moving on to a career as an insurance broker, and also serves as a motivational speaker.