Norwegian Olympian Tomoe Hvas has announced his retirement from competitive swimming at just 22-years old. The news, announced on Instagram by his club, comes as a shock as Hvas is Norway’s best young prospect in a generation.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, in English, Hvas said that 2022 was “plagued by sickness and misfortune.”
“Ultimately this has put my motivation to the test numerous times and made me think about the present and the future. My time away from the pool has given me a lot of space to reflect and search for what I want to do and who I want to be.
“Throughout my swimming career I have always struggled with my identity as a person, and although my love for swimming is unquestionable, I have always dwelled over if swimming was the right path for me.
“Having now been away from swimming for such a long time, these questions of identity and who I want to be have come to the forefront of my mind. Through extensive and long reflections I have come to the conclusion that I wish to discover who I am outside of sports.”
Hvas, who trained with the barumsvommerne club, kicked off his international career with a medal at the 2017 European Short Course Championships. There, he picked up bronze in the 200 IM. Two years later, he improved that to silver.
In between, at the 2018 Youth Olympics, he took gold in the 200 IM, silver in the 50 fly, and bronze in the 50 back. He also picked up a European Junior Championships silver in the 50 fly in 2018.
Hvas’ last meet was the 2021 World Short Course Swimming Championships, where he earned a silver medal in the 100 IM. His time of 51.35 was a new Norwegian Record and one of 19 such records that he currently owns.
Hvas was one of four Norwegian swimmers to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and the only to advance out of a preliminary round. He placed 16th in the semi-finals of the men’s 200 IM after being two-and-a-half seconds better in prelims (1:57.64).
Hvas almost wound up in the United States training in the NCAA. In 2017, he committed to swim at the University of North Carolina, though he ultimately decided to stay home in Norway.
He was part of a young core for the Norwegians: three of their four Olympians in 2021 are still only 22 years old. Ingeborg Loyning, the lone woman representing the country in swimming at that meet, and Andre Klippenberg are of a similar age to Hvas.
Nicholas Lia, who was on the country’s roster at the World Championships this summer, is only 21.
Hvas also represented the LA Current in seasons 2 and 3 of the International Swimming League. In the most recent season in 2021, he ended the year as the 100th-ranked performer in the league in scoring, averaging 20 points/match. That includes a season-best 31 points in regular season Match #5.
Tomoe Hvas‘ Full Resignation Letter:
- All the amazing coaches I have worked with, Håkon Ikonomou, Christian Tessner and especially Sondre Solberg, who brought out the best in me, both as a person and as a swimmer. I am eternally grateful for the relentless dedication Sondre has given me. There are many other coaches I have not named here, but who have contributed enormously to my growth, and I thank you all.
- The people at Bærumsvømmerne and the parents who have been supporting me and the club for all these amazing years that I have been swimming.
- All my teammates and everyone who I have trained with who have constantly challenged me into making me a better swimmer and person. There are far too many to name but I hope that my appreciation is not understated.
- The staff at Olympiatoppen. I would like to give out a special thanks to Morten Bråten and Sindre Madsgård for the excellent work in perfecting me as an athlete. Their keen eye to detail and perfection have helped elevate my swimming to great heights. I would also like to thank the entire health staff at OLT for their kindness and willingness to always take care of me.
- All the current and past members of the Norwegian national team. A great thanks to Petter Løvberg who has been the national team head coach for as long as I have been swimming, along with all the other staff and members
- The members of Norges Svømmeforbund for their outstanding support and contribution to my growth.
All of the people above and many more have given me the opportunity to be inspired and to inspire others. I feel privileged that I have been in a position to compete at the highest level, and would like again to thank all the people who have been a part of the great journey. Norwegian swimming will forever be in my heart.