Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson has announced his retirement from competitive swimming at 28 years old. Jamieson finished 2nd at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 200 breaststroke, which made him the tip-of-the-spear for the British breaststroke revolution that has made them arguably the best nation in the world in that discipline in the 4 years since – which subsequently left him out of the Rio Olympics.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Jamieson opens up about the depression he faced in 2013 when he struggled to maintain the level that found him on an Olympic podium and wound up injured. Jamieson described the training routine that he believes led to the injury – 115 to 120 kilometers per week, saying that in his training group of 8, he was really the only one that seemed to make it to glory before injury set in.
“There were weeks I couldn’t go out,” Jamieson said. “I was living on a diet of anti-depressants and sleeping pills, and just even more destructive behaviour. Not speaking to anyone, completely closed off.”
Jamieson hasn’t raced since the 2016 British Championships and Olympic Trials, where he finished 7th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.05) and 5th in his specialty the 200 (2:10.55). He waffled on his commitment to the sport after that miss, at first saying he might retire and then saying he was ‘definitely’ not done.
While Jamieson finished among international podiums 6 times, he never landed a gold medal at a major continental or global senior championship.
While he didn’t race in Rio, Jamieson did travel to Brazil to participate as part of the colour commentator team for BBC Radio 5Live’s swimming coverage.
Jamieson’s International Medal Haul
- 2012 Olympic silver medal – 200 breaststroke
- 2012 World Short Course silver medal – 200 breaststroke
- 2013 European Short Course silver medal – 200 breaststroke
- 2011 European Short Course silver medal – 200 breaststroke
- 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medal – 200 breaststroke
- 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medal – 200 breaststroke