Four-Time Spanish Olympian Erika Villaecija Announces Her Retirement

Four-time Spanish Olympian Erika Villaecija has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. In a ceremony on Monday at the Colet Museum in Barcelona, she announced to media that she will call it a career after two more meets: the Spanish Short Course Swimming Championships at CN Barcelona from November 15th-18th, and December’s Club Cup, where she’ll represent her team Sabadell CN one last time.

“I had a hard time quitting, but I have taken on new ambitions (in the working world) and I have seen that I did not have the time to train and also do my job, since it is very demanding. My priorities have changed,” The 34-year old Villaecija said.

Villaecija has won 21 major international medals, and became one of the few to swim pool and open water events at the same Olympics at the 2012 London Games.

While her resume includes no Olympic medals, it does include 7 European Championship medals (LCM) including titles in 2004 in the 800 free and as part of Spain’s 800 free relay. She also has 2 Short Course World Championship medals, having won bronze in the 800 free in 2008 and gold in 2010, and 7 Short Course European Championship medals.

Villaecija’s highest open water finish at the Olympic Games came in the open water event at the 2012 Olympics, where she placed 8th. At her first Olympics, in 2004, she placed 5th in the pool in the 800 free in 8:29.04. She would improve her time by 5 seconds, swimming a lifetime best of 8:24.08, by March of 2008, but she was only an 8:32 to finish 16th in Beijing at the Olympics.

Villaecija’s career will be marked with the gold badge of the Spanish Swimming Federation and the Creu de Sant Jordi – the highest civil distinction in the Catalonian region.

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3 years ago

She is definitely history of Spanish swimming, and an example of longevity. We will miss her.

3 years ago

I think that Kobrich, Patten, Payne, Pinto, Gorman and in certain way du Toit swam both pool and open water in 2008

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Braden Keith

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