Athens Golden Girl retires

30 September 2009

Triple Olympic champion Jodie Henry has officially retired from swimming, having grown accustomed to life outside the pool.

The star of the 2004 Athens Olympics sent her retirement forms to FINA and Swimming Australia on Wednesday morning, content she achieved everything she wanted in her illustrious career.

Henry won the prized 100m freestyle title and anchored Australia to victory in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay in Athens.

She also collected three world championships gold medals and another four golds at Commonwealth Games.

Henry missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a pelvic complaint that hampered her preparations before the selection trials in March last year.

The 25-year-old said her persistent injury gave her insight into life outside of the pool and ultimately led to her decision to retire.

"It's all a little bit silly because I haven't been swimming for about 18 months," Henry told AAP on Wednesday.

"I took time away because I got injured and I took time away to get better.

"But I actually really enjoyed being out of the pool ... I never really got back in and sort of came to the conclusion that I never was going to get back in."

Henry at one stage held the Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth crowns in the 100m freestyle. She is the most successful Australian woman over the 100m freestyle since Dawn Fraser and became the nation's first 100m world champion.

"You get to that point, especially having that time out of the water, and think I'm enjoying this and if I went back what would be my goal because I've already done everything," she said.

Henry was pleased she had avoided the recent hi-tech swimsuit saga that plagued the 2009 world championships in Rome.

"I would hate for me to have won something and then people turn around and say it was because she was wearing that suit," Henry said.

"I'm just glad that I wasn't swimming at that time because it's just so confusing for the swimmers.

"I respect Libby's (Trickett) decision to not wear it (at the world championships) because if she did wear it and won, then people would be saying she won it because she was wearing the suit, not because she'd put in all of the hard work that she did."

Henry's retirement follows Trickett's decision to take a break from swimming last month to consider her future.

Shannon Rollason coached Henry for a decade at the Australian Institute of Sport and was at the helm when she won triple Olympic gold in Athens. Rollason said he spoke with Henry after she officially retired on Wednesday to wish her luck with life after swimming.

"She was a Commonwealth record holder, world championships record holder, Olympics record holder, she'd done it all," Rollason said.

"I'm a bit of a car buff, so I describe her as a Ferrari, she could have good days and bad days but when she was going really well, there was no better."

Henry was looking forward to working on a new television series as a presenter.

Samantha Broun
AAP

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