USA National Teamer Hannah Stevens has announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 23. “Over the past few months, I fought to stay in this sport and the decision to retire did not come easy for me,” reads Stevens’ social media account this week. “I feel it is what is best for me mentally and physically.”
Stevens competed as a student-athlete at the University of Missouri, amassing 14 NCAA All-American honors and an SEC runner-up finish in the 100y backstroke at this year’s conference championships. She also finaled in the 100y backstroke at this year’s NCAA Championships.
Internationally, Stevens represented the United States at the 2017 World Championships, where she finished 9th in the semi-finals of the 50m backstroke event. That same year the Mizzou Tiger also scored 3 medals at the World University Games, winning bronze in the 50m back, silver in the 100m back and another silver as a member of Team USA’s 4x100m medley relay.
“Over the last few years I have struggled with back problems and this past year has been no exception. Over the past few months I fought to stay in this sport and the decision to retire did not come easy for me but I feel it is what is best for me, mentally and physically. I have been truly blessed to call the University of Missouri my home for the last four years and am incredibly greatfull for the people I have met along the way,” continues Stevens’ retirement announcement.
“I have too many people that I could thank for the unconditional love and support and please just know I have never taken that for granted. From the kiddie pool at Clearfork to the World Championships in Budapest I have had the time of my life, I thank God everyday for the opportunities he has given me and the people he has put into my life. I can’t wait to see where the next chapter takes me.”
With the U.S. Summer Nationals looming, Stevens’ retirement may potentially open the door for another would-be 100 backstroker to snag a spot for this year’s Pan Pacific Championships roster. Young Regan Smith, Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker, former Michigan Wolverine Ali DeLoof and American record holder Olivia Smoliga are just a few of the names who will by vying for a national title and the right to represent the U.S. in Tokyo this summer. Those names will also be in the mix, along with rising stars such as Alex Walsh, come the Olympic Trials in 2020.