Eamon Sullivan Concedes to Injury Struggles, Announces Retirement

Three-time Australian Olympian Eamon Sullivan has succumbed to a shoulder injury and announced his retirement at the age of 28.

Sullivan, who is a former World Record holder in the 50 and 100 free, had earned a spot on this year’s Commonwealth Games team, but pulled out with the injury to seek further treatment. He was replaced there in the 50 free by Matthew Abood.

According to Swimming Australia, Sullivan has since received medical advice to not shoot for a fourth Olympics in 2016.

“I think Eamon surprised a lot of people winning the 50m freestyle at Trials this year and gaining selection for the Commonwealth Games team, but that’s just really a testament to the quality of athlete that he is,” said Swimming Australia Performance Director Michael Scott. “Having not swum since London 2012, and then to be able to produce a world class performance like he did, really showed just how hard he had been working and his professionalism.”

Sullivan’s best international meet came at the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won silvers in the 100 free and 400 medley relay, plus a bronze in the 400 free relay. In addition, he has three World Championship medals (2 gold, 1 bronze), five Commonwealth Games medals (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), and four Pan Pacs medals (1 silver, 3 bronze).

The Perth native has also built a celebrity outside of the pool, including winning the first season of the reality cooking show Celebrity MasterChef Australia and posing for a national campaign for an underwear line with then-girlfriend Stephanie Rice.

Sullivan earned his official Australian Swimming “number,” which each athlete gets as an honor when they make their first major international team, at the 2004 Commonwealth Games, earning him a 601. At that same meet, Marieke Guehrer (#596) also earned her stripes, and as far as we can tell, those are the two lowest numbers still active in elite swimming meaning that Sullivan’s retirement that Australia has lost not only its best 50 freestyle according to 2014 result, but its most experienced male swimmer.

In a period where Australia is trying to figure out how to improve the performances of their men’s teams, and specifically consistency, at international meets, experience will not be an easy suit to fill.

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Speedy
6 years ago

Sad to see someone like this leave the sport. No doubt in my mind he could’ve been sub 21 and sub 47 if he wasn’t so unlucky with all the injuries he had throughout his career.

Sven
Reply to  Speedy
6 years ago

agreed. One of the best sprinters in the universe, and damn it, he’s falling apart.

Hopefully he finds a way to remain active in the sport. Commentating, coaching, pair him up with an up-and-coming sprinter as a mentor, etc.

6 years ago

Sad bit of news

aswimfan
6 years ago

Eamon has always had to deal with injuries, the only exception was the 2007-2008 stretch.
Funny how in March 2008, Gary Hall Jr. said this about Sullivan:
“I have been in this sport for a VERY long time and I have never seen such a drop in time from an elite level swimmer.
“Similar drops have been made by athletes that later were proven cheaters.
“It’s no fault of Eamon that a lot of people are going to look at his swim suspiciously, unless of course he did cheat.
“Too many athletes have cheated. The public has a right to be suspicious of doping when they see a drop like that.”

Dolphin22
Reply to  aswimfan
6 years ago

That statement was made at the beginning of the super suit era before everyone realized how huge of an effect the suits had. The suits aided some swimmers more than others like Eamon Sullivan and Paul Beidermann. It’s undeniable at this point. Nobody knew that back in March of 2008. Gary Hall Jr. made those statements without knowing these things. His statements still hold true today. If someone makes similar time drops in a textile suit today, then people have the right to question it as Hall explained in 08. I don’t think he was wrong to bring it into question. Clearly, he wasn’t giving the suits enough credit for the impact on the times. It is disrespectful to take… Read more »

aswimfan
Reply to  Dolphin22
6 years ago

Whoaaa… Hold on right there matey… no need to get defensive on behalf of Gary Hall Jr. I’m sure he is laughing over this one.

I only pointed this out in good humour to show how at that time even one of the greatest sprinters did not understand the full effect of the suit (and it’s related to Sullivan). I did not intend to show that Hall Jr. accused Sullivan of cheating.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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