Jazz Carlin has today announced her retirement from swimming. The Welsh Olympic medallist has endured a difficult few years following her double silver medal winning performance at the Rio Olympics and has finally opted to bring the curtain down on one of the most successful careers British swimming has seen.
Carlin started out her senior international career with bronze as part of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay at the 2009 world championships. From there she went on to become the first Welsh swimmer in 80 years to win two medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Hopes were then high of a run at a medal at the Olympics of 2012 but illness intervened and Carlin was forced to watch from the side-lines.
She roared back in 2013, setting some of the fastest times in the world over 800 and 1500m freestyle, but the topsy-turvy nature of British trials that year played against her when the world championships came round. What the year showed though was that she was back and was a force to be reckoned with over 400 and 800m freestyle.
That position was consolidated during a glittering 2014 that brought her two European and one Commonwealth title, along with a world silver over 800m freestyle short course, a result backed up with bronze in the long course equivalent the following year.
The scene was then set for her finest moment in Rio. Racing against possibly the most dominant female swimmer the sport has seen in the shape of Katy Ledecky, Carlin put together two superb performances, moving to 9th fastest 400m freestyler of all time (5th fastest in textile) to take silver behind the American and then repeating the feat in the 800m freestyle. While just off her best on that particular day, she remains the 4th fastest 800m swimmer all time (3rd in textile).
A long break after Rio saw her swimming career falter, and a brief flirtation with open water didn’t bring the success that might have been hoped for, but Carlin should not be remembered for that period but instead for her mighty achievements in the pool.
She will now move into a role with Swim Wales. Jazz will be mentoring the current Welsh youth squad and fronting the Learn to Swim programme, to promote and recruit more young children to be aquatically active.
Jazz Carlin was already selected for the world championships in Kazan having won the 400 freestyle at the 2015 British championships . A day later she also took the title in the 800m free. Bob Ballard was in the mixed zone to talk to her.