On November 16th, 2000, one of the great distance swimmers to ever enter the pool, Australia’s Kieren Perkins, announced his retirement.
Perkins won back-to-back gold medals in the 1500 free at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics before slipping back to silver in 2000, where he’d hand off to Grant Hackett as the next in the line of legendary Aussie distance swimmers. His retirement was sort of an appropriate hand-off to the next generation, though some were surprised when he swam on after Atlanta.
- Alex Popov, 40 – One of the greatest sprint legends of all time, Popov swept the 50 and 100 freestyles in both 1992 and 1996
- Mel Stewart, 43 – Legendary swimming personality “Gold Medal” Mel Stewart was the 1992 champion in the 200 fly. He’s grown his legend in retirement as a larger-than-life personality in the swimming community.
- Britta Steffen, 28 – German sprinter who is the current World Record holder in both the 50 and 100 freestyles, and the defending Olympic Champion in both races.
- Kier Maitland, 23 – Maitland is a Canadian who swam collegiately at UNLV. His biggest international accomplishment is a bronze in the 1500 free at the 2007 Pan American Games when he was only 19.