Decorated Paralympic swimmer Sophie Herzog has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. That ends a 10-year elite swimming career for the 25-year-old that took her to two Paralympic Games and three World Para-Swimming Championships.
Herzog’s Instagram post:
All good things must come to an end! With a 10 year career, today I officially announce my retirement from professional swimming. From club swimming as an age grouper to representing my country at the highest athletic stage twice, it was truly an honor. I hang up my cap & goggles proud of what I accomplished in the sport of swimming as not only a female but as a dwarf. I look forward to closing this chapter and living with a bit less stress and learning to enjoy swimming in a recreational aspect.
– To the little girl who grew up with a dream and all odds against her, you freaking did it & accomplish much more than you ever dreamed!
Herzog earned a silver medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 in the SB6 100 breaststroke, and five years later took bronze in the same event at the Tokyo Games. She was the 2017 World Champion in that event, and also swam on the gold medal-winning 400 medley relay that year in Mexico City. That was part of six career World Championship medals, including 2017 bronzes in the 100 free and 100 back, both in the S6 classification.
Her big international breakthrough came in 2015, where she won four medals at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Herzog was born with a form of dwarfism known as Achondroplasia, which occurs in about one in 26,000 births.
She grew up in the suburbs of Denver before eventually joining the US Resident Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. There she worked as a tour guide at the center when she wasn’t training.
In 2020, she and her partner Nick moved to Salida, Colorado to prepare for retirement after the Tokyo Paralympics. She took an extended break after those Games before returning to competition at the 2022 World Series event in Indianapolis, but eventually stepped away from the sport for good.
In Salida, she works as an account executive and marketing specialist with the Heart of the Rockies Radio. She also serves as an assistant coach at Salida High School, where she often trained with the team.
Herzog originally pursued elite alpine skiing, but switched to swimming after undergoing knee surgery in high school.
The 25-year-old Herzog married Nick Gibb in August.
Sophia Herzog‘s Major International Podiums
- 2016 Paralympic Games – silver – 100 breaststroke (SB6)
- 2020 Paralympic Games – bronze – 100 breaststroke (SB6)
- 2017 World Championships – gold – 100 breaststroke (SB6)
- 2017 World Championships – gold – 400 medley relay
- 2017 World Championships – silver – 200 IM (SM6)
- 2017 World Championships – bronze – 100 freestyle (S6)
- 2017 World Championships – bronze – 100 backstroke (S6)
- 2022 World Championships – silver – 100 breaststroke (SB6)
- 2015 Parapan American Games – silver – 100 breaststroke (SB6)
- 2015 Parapan American Games – silver – 200 IM (SM6)
- 2015 Parapan American Games – silver – 200 free relay
- 2014 Parapan American Games – bronze – 50 freestyle (S6)
Congratulations, Sophia! An outstanding career!
Travesty she got silver in Rio when the gold medalist was in the wrong class.
Tiffany Thomas Kane, who swam as an S7 in Toyko
Both Sofia and Tiffany have short stature, why was Tiffany moved from an S6 to S7?
There is a height limit for the S6 classification, and c. 2014 they reminded everyone to keep measuring under 18 swimmers to see if they exceed that height limit, because they still are growing.
The limit is 130cm to be an S6, which is 4’3″. Sofia is 4’0″ and so is under that standard. I could not fine TTK’s height online anywhere, but the probable explanation is that she grew to be over 130cm tall at some point.
That height limit is one of the few black-and-white classification rules.
That is interesting, I wonder how they classify younger athletes with short stature but are not diagnosed with dwarfism, because they could just grow out of the height limit! Do you know what the youngest age they will classify someone?
Incredible, world class swimmer, and an even better person. Wishing her all the best in the next chapter.
Amazing career! She looks strong too.
A frightening dwarf.