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.