Former WR Holder Joanne Jackson Latest British Olympian to Retire

The British team continues to be hit by a slew of retirements after athletes hung on to compete in front of their home crowd in London, with the latest being former World Record holder and three-time Olympian Joanne Jackson.

Jackson took bronze in the 400 free, her best event, at the 2008 Olympics, and then broke the World Record in 2009 at the British Championships before taking silver at Worlds (where Federica Pellegrini becoame the first woman under 4 minutes).

“I have been fortunate to have some great sponsors who stuck with me through all the ups and downs,” Jackson said. “And British Swimming, coaches and the support team have been awesome. I’m now looking at new opportunities to start a Swim Academy and begin a brand new career in Events.”

After years as one of the world’s best, she nearly fell off of the map in 2010 after a string of health issues, including severe asthma attacks that kept her out of the pool for almost 18 months. In 2011, suddenly the issues ceased, she was back in the water, and successfully conquered a training cycle without any problems.

Then, she did what few expected and qualified for the British Olympic Team in the 400 free. Though she only finished 21st, this was still a demonstration of perseverence for the 26-year old from North Yorkshire.

She will retire with 1 Olympic medal, 5 from the World Championships, 3 from the Commonwealth Games, and 7 from the European Championships. Stuck behind an impressive group of women’s distance swimmers in Europe of the last decade, including countrymate Rebecca Adlington, only a single one of those was gold: in 2003 at the European Short Course Championships where she beat-out countrymate Rebecca Cooke (in just a 4:04.00).

Jackson still holds British Records in the 200 and 400 freestyles.

She joins a list of big-time British swimmers who have retired in the latter part of this year that includes:

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It is not surprising that swimmers have reduced immune systems after several high stress years . Then a flu strikes them down & lingers & morphs into a new or more severe allergic asthma reaction. In Joanne’s case she was unable to take various meds because of the steroid content. One treatment Xolair was advised but it was very expensive & really Joanne was not actually sick & dying or incapacitated like other recipients on the NHS. She just could not swim as well as she would like. There is a difference. But she managed to lobby herself to the top of the queue at her local health district & got it. I believe Brit Swimming had to subsidze it.… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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