Danish Olympic medalist Lotte Friis has announced her retirement from competitive swimming, calling it a career via her social media account on Tuesday morning.
“I am proud of my career and proud of the results I have accomplished,” Friis said. “I hope that I have left my mark in Danish elite swimming and that I have been a good role model for younger swimmers, and helped motivate and inspire a new generation of swimmers to believe in themselves and dare to dream.”
The 29-year old Friis won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. She retires with 9 Danish Records (3 of which are relays), including the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles in long course meters. Her 1500 time of 15:38.88 from the 2013 World Championships, swum while chasing American Katie Ledecky, is also the European Record.
International Competition Highlights:
- 2008 Olympic bronze medalist – 800 free
- 2009 World Champion – 800 free
- 2011 World Champion – 1500 free
- 5-time World Championships silver medalist
- 6-time European Champion
- 15 total European medals in long course and short course
Friis’ encore at the London Olympics (aka, the meet where Katie Ledecky took over women’s distance swimming) saw her finish 4th in the 400 free and 5th in the 800. In the aftermath of her podium miss, she moved from Nice, France to the United States to train with Bob Bowman and Erik Posegay at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (long-time base of Michael Phelps). She, along with most of the distance group there, remained in Baltimore when Bowman and Phelps moved to Arizona for their final Olympic preparations.
Friis wound up missing the final in the 400 free (4:07.13 in prelims) and placing 7th in the 800 free in Rio (8:24.50 in the final), which came up short of her 4:03.9 and 8:15.9 lifetime bests in those events.
This marks the end of an era in Danish swimming and Danish elite sports.,” said Danish Swimming Federation technical director Lars Green Bach of the news. “The years ofsuccess in Danish swimming started with Lottes Bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lotte has given Denmark some fantastic and unforgettable sporting moments. Moments which have inspired alot of people both within and outside of the sport, to persue and work tirelessly towards their dreams and goals. I have great respect for the brave decision Lotte has made. I know that it has not been easy to reach this decision, especially not in a year where the European championships SC are hosted in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is with sadness that the national team will move on to future international championships, without Lottes professionalism, dedication and great energy. But this decision also speaks to Lottes knowledge about the demands at the international level, where she knows what it takes to compete at the very top. I am pleased that Lotte will still be in the Danish swimming community, as a coach, where she can share her experience and be a role model who will help develop Danish swimming in the future.”
For now, Friis will continue her work coaching with the Gentofte Swim Club and working as a communication consultant with the IT firm Risma Systems.
“Time to say goodbye,” Friis said in her Facebook post. “Today I’ve announced my retirement from swimming. I’m saying goodbye to a sport that has meant the world to me. It has given me a career, great experiences and friends all over the world. It’s definitely not been an easy decision for me but I know it’s the right one.”