200 IM World Record holder Ariana Kukors has decided to retire after taking a year away from the sport after her Olympic appearance in 2012.
In news broken by the Kent Reporter and the Auburn Reporter’s Shawn Skager, Kukors said she leaves the sport feeling good about her decision.
“I always kind of thought that 2012 would be my last year. The Olympics were the perfect icing on the cake. I’m very pleased and content with my career. I’m very happy with how everything went and excited to be walking away with great memories and great friends.”
In the 2009 suited onslaught of the World Record books, few came from as surprising of a point, and few perhaps seem as out-of-reach, as Kukors’ 2:06.15 in the 200 long course IM. She is a swimmer that was never among, say, the top 10 in the world in any one stroke, but she was an extremely versatile swimmer who absolutely crushes her underwaters.
Kukors is a product of Auburn, Washington, near Seattle, and spent her first collegiate season at the University of Washington. When that program was cut, she transferred to Chapman University and went pro in swimming, training with the new pro group in Fullerton under her former head coach Sean Hutchison.
In 2009, she broke the World Record in the 200 IM in Rome at the World Championships with that stunning 2:06.15. She actually possesses the two fastest swims in history, but that World Record is the only mark even under 2:07 (and the closest swim in textile is still 1.4 seconds away from Kukors’ mark). And to think: at that year’s National Championships, she was only 3rd in the 200 IM, and only got to swim because 15-year old Liz Pelton withdrew from the event.
Still, even with that World Record, she had to wait until 2012 to make her first Olympic Team, which she did in the 200 IM and ended up placing 5th.
Kukors is part of a big-time swimming family, that includes sisters Emily and Mattie, both of whom swam for major Division I programs.
She now works as the director of health inspiration for LifeWise Health Plan of Washington and writes for their online magazine Actively Northwest.
Kukors was not drug-tested by USADA in the 1st or 2nd quarters of 2013, though she remained in the testing pool at least through the end of 2012 based on testing data. Removal from that pool is how swimmers officially retire.
Kukors is just 24 years old.