Dutch Olympian Maud van der Meer has announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 28.
The mother of one was a recurring Dutch freestyle relay swimmer, sharing gold as a member of her nation’s women’s 400m free relay at the 2011 FINA World Championships. She is also a two-time relay gold medalist from the World Short Course Championships from 2014.
In Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games, van der Meer raced in the heats of the women’s 400m free relay, which ultimately placed 4th without her in the final.
“I’ve decided it’s time to retire,” van der Meer Instagram post. “I’m extremely thankful for this journey and all the incredible memories.
“Unfortunately, this year was very challenging for me. I struggled with anxiety, motivation problems, sleeping problems and I was not myself anymore. Almost lost my (step)father to covid-19.
The last 3 months I pulled myself together and swam my best 100 freestyle since I became a mom, but it was not enough for the Olympics. It’s time for a new adventure and chase new goals.”
As posted by the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB), the 2016 Rio Olympian said, “Theoretically, I still have a very slim chance of qualifying as a relay swimmer or, if necessary, as a reserve for the Games in April or May. But I notice that the ultimate motivation to do or not do anything for that has not been there since December. Then as a top athlete you have to be honest with yourself and your environment and quitting is the best choice.
André Cats, technical director of the KNZB, regrets that Van der Meer is leaving, but fully understands her decision. “I greatly appreciate and respect her efforts and dedication to top sport.”