Swimming New Zealand has announced the retirement of 23-year-old Matthew Hutchins, a freestyle specialist who represented his home nation at the 2016 Olympic Games.
“Today I have chosen to walk away from competitive swimming,” Hutchins’ statement reads, according to Swimming New Zealand. “Swimming has been the major part of my life since I was 13 years old and the idea that it will no longer take up every part of my life is new to me.”
Hutchins holds national and age group records in New Zealand, representing the Wharenui Swim Club in Christchurch, At the most recent NZ Open Championships last year, Hutchins won 4 individual titles across the 1500m, 800m, 400m freestyle and 200m freestyle (tie).
In the United States, Hutchins swam for the University of Wisconsin, earning All-America honors multiple times over. At his final NCAA Championships in 2017, the Kiwi placed 5th in the 1650 freestyle in a new school record time of 14:31.19, while also placing 10th in the 500 free in 4:13.16 and 31st in the 200 free in 1:34.87.
Below is Hutchins’ personal statement, as provided by Swimming New Zealand:
“Today I have chosen to walk away from competitive swimming. Swimming has been the major part of my life since I was 13 years old and the idea that it will no longer take up every part of my life is new to me.
However, it has reached a point where I no longer find the joy in the early mornings and the overall grind of training and competition.
Swimming has given me the chance to meet so many great people from coaches to teammates to parents to just general fans of the sport, and I am truly grateful for the impact they have all had on my life.
Swimming has given me the chance to do so many things I never thought I would growing up. I have represented my country at the highest level, travelled to amazing locations around the world, and have had the opportunity to live in one of the coolest cities and represent the best schools for the past 4 years.
I won’t lie and say that I have achieved everything I have wanted, or that I don’t believe I have anything physically left to give. I would have loved to continue to represent my country at the highest level, however, I know my heart and my mind are not in the sport to where I can truly keep giving the effort required to make it another four years.
Being a swimmer will always be a huge part of me, and the memories and friendships I have made will stay with me for a life time.”