Australian Olympic swimmer Jack McLoughlin has announced his retirement from the sport after a year away. After completing his degree in Structural Civil Engineering, he has taken a job in that field.
The decision was foreshadowed when he was honored alongside other retirees at the Swimming Australia awards earlier this week and confirmed by an Instagram post on Tuesday.
The 27-year old McLoughlin represented Australia at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In Tokyo, he earned a silver medal in the men’s 400 meter freestyle, joining an illustrious list of Australian men throughout history who have medaled in one of the country’s favored events. Names like Murray Rose, Kieren Perkins, Grant Hackett, Ian Thorpe, Duncan Armstrong, and Mack Horton have all adorned the Olympic podium in this event, representing most of the biggest names in Australian men’s swimming history.
Other international medals for McLoughlin include a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 1500 free and a 2018 Pan Pacs gold medal in the 400 free, alongside three other medals from those two meets.
Early in his career, McLoughlin split time between the pool and open water, part of a leading-edge of swimmers to have done so. He represented Australia at the 2017 World Championships in both disciplines, placing 23rd in the open water 5km race and 4th as part of Australia’s 5km team relay event.
McLoughlin told SwimSwam on Monday that he took the last year away from the pool to finish his thesis project and “see how life panned out,” while interning with BMD Group.
He wound up getting multiple job offers for engineering work that he is “super passionate about,” and decided he was ready to begin that career. He called his new position a “dream job.”
“At the end of my swimming career, I wanted to look back and say to myself you couldn’t have done anything more,” McLoughlin said. “Looking back now, I can say, hand on my heart, I don’t think I could of. From training by myself to get to the next level or simply getting to a point where my body physically stopped working whilst I fought my coach saying I could keep going. I don’t think I could do anything more and that’s what I needed for myself. All I ever wanted to do was train hard and race hard and be proud of the person I was with the people directly around me. I think I can go out knowing I left an impression on most people I got the chance to train and race against and who knew me well.”
McLoughlin is engaged to his fiancée Emily Keir, a former netball player who works as an architectural assistant in Brisbane.
McLoughlin is one of a number of international-caliber swimmers who have announced retirements in the last week, along with three-time Olympic gold medalist Blake Pieroni, 2021 World Champion Emily Escobedo, and US National Teamer Olivia Carter.