Finnish Olympian and National Team Member Tanja Kylliainen has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. Kylliainen represented Finland at the 2016 Games in Rio where she posted the current Finnish record in 400 IM with a time of 4.45.33. She also holds the LCM Finnish record in the 200 IM.
“After 22 years of swimming I have decided to hang up my towel. My lingering shoulder injury has prevented me from being able to train to my full capacity and it is the right time for me to move on from the sport”, Kylliainen says.
The 25-year-old, US-raised swimmer represented Finland seven times in total at European Championships, World Championships and the Olympic Games debuting internationally at the 2011 European Championships where she was a finalist. During her career, Kylliainen broke ten Finnish Records.
She was also a standout for four years with the Louisville Cardinals, earning four first team All-American honors individually (placing as high as 4th in the 400 IM at the 2015 NCAAs in her senior year). Additionally, she was the Cardinals’ first ever ACC Champion, in any sport, when she won the 200 IM at the 2015 Championships in their first year in the conference. She went on to set conference records in all three of her events, and was named Swimmer of the Meet.
The last meet of her career will be the upcoming Finnish national championships in Jyvaskyla, which get underway this week. She’ll swim the 50 and 100 fly, 50 free and will also be a part of Helsingfors Simsallskap’s relay squads.
Matti Mäki, the Head Coach of Simmis, said: “I fully understand Tanja´s decision. Our journey towards Tokyo ends now two years too early. Tanja’s shoulder injury prevented her from training like a top-athlete. And she knows what you need to do achieve a place among the best. Tanja´s decision to quit now is a wise decision. We all want to thank her for our time together and we all wish her all the best in the future.”
“I am extremely grateful to every single person who has helped me along the way, especially during my transition moving here“, said Kylliainen. “The Simmis family, Olympic Committee, and Suomen Uimaliitto have been very supportive and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. I wish my national teammates success in their preparations for Tokyo, and my Simmis teammates all the best for their own journey. Thank you very much.”