Texas Junior Ethan Heasley, 2018 Jr Pan Pacs Medalist, Retires from Swimming

Ethan Heasley, the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs bronze medalist in the 400-meter freestyle, announced his retirement from competitive swimming on Sept. 23.

The University of Texas junior told SwimSwam that “the decision to retire was not one that came easily or quickly.”

As a freshman, Heasley was seeded to score at NCAAs in both the 1650 freestyle and the 400 IM, after hitting lifetime bests of 14:48.10 and 3:43.35 in-season. However, he was cut from the NCAA team due to entry limits. He was unable to match those times as a sophomore, and his best result last season was finishing 10th at Big-12s in the 400 IM in 3:50.49.

The #12 SwimSwam recruit in the class of 2020, Heasley also represented the United States on the international stage. The Hillsboro, Oregon native was part of the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs team, and earned his bronze medal in 3:53.81 behind Ross Dant and Brendon Smith. He also finished ninth in the 400 IM and 11th in the 200 freestyle.

As a high school senior swimming for Hillsboro HEAT, Heasley won three events at the Oregon Senior Championships: the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, and 200 IM.

Heasley went into detail about his decision to retire, and his full thoughts are below:

The decision to retire was not one that came easily or quickly. I had been struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally with the sport for some time and my continual decline in performance as well as struggle to stay healthy made matters even harder. This was hurting both my performance in the water and the relationships with people who mattered most to me. After many conversations over the summer and the beginning of this season with my team, family, and friends I realized it was time to prioritize my mental well-being and relationships. Swimming has taught me so much about myself and the world around me, which has helped me be at peace with the difficult decision to leave the sport I have dedicated so much to. Most importantly, I am so grateful for the unwavering support of all my teammates and the great opportunity to have swam at Texas.

For his accomplishments outside of the pool, Heasley was named to the 2021-2022 CSCAA Scholar All-American Second Team and the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. His freshman year, he was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team. He’s also a four-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

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1 month ago

Hats off to an Oregon legend. The Hillsboro Heat champs and Oregon record holders continue to fade out. Luke Thornbrue done at Notre Dame after one season. Anton Goswitz faded out after age group domination. Max Woodbury hung up his goggles after a very long club career. Only Brett Champlin at Tennessee is left. Wishing Ethan much success and happiness post-swim. Lots of younger Oregon swimmers look up to you. Way to continue to inspire, even in your retirement.

1 month ago

I always applaud swimmers who recognize when it’s time for them to step away. It doesn’t help team morale to have someone on deck who has lost their passion, so it’s a selfless act to remove yourself from that environment if you aren’t going to be a positive contributor. I wish Ethan all the best in his future NARP life! There is so much of the world and college life outside of the pool that I hope he explores.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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