Jazz Carlin has today announced that she has hung up her cap and goggles for good, calling time on a hugely successful 14 year career.
Having started swimming seriously at the age of 14, Carlin has enjoyed success at every level, winning world, European and Commonwealth medals before her crowning glory at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where she won double silver in the 400m and 800m Freestyle.
2014 was the start of a halcyon period for the Welsh swimmer, aided by a move to train at the National Centre Bath under the guidance of Dave McNulty. The fruits of her labour quickly started to become apparent, as at Glasgow 2014 she took her first Commonwealth Games gold medal, before adding two European titles to her burgeoning trophy cabinet. In fact that Commonwealth gold was the first time a Welshwoman had achieved the feat for 40 years.
Bronze at world level over 800m the following year really showed the transition Carlin had made since joining McNulty’s regime, now a serious challenger for global titles, and paved the way for her crowning glory in the Brazilian capital the following summer. Prior to that she was crowned double European champion, before in Rio becoming the first Team GB representative to win two medals, as well as being the most successful female aquatics team member.
Making the announcement at the Welsh National Pool in Swansea, where her swimming career began, Carlin announced that she’ll be working closely with Swim Wales in her life after competitive swimming, her new roles including mentoring the current Welsh youth squad and fronting the organisations Learn to Swim programme.
Learn to Swim Wales is the national framework for learning to swim in Wales, aimed at supporting the national objective of making ‘every child a swimmer by the age of 11’ and enabling the population of Wales to be aquatically active.
All in all, Jazz won 13 major international medals in six years, a remarkable medal haul by anyone’s standards. Last year she took her final British title, winning the 800m freestyle at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, fitting given that the 2006 Commonwealth Games were her first major championships.
Reflecting on her career, Carlin said:
“It’s really hard for me to pick out one single highlight, obviously winning two silvers at the Olympics was an incredible experience but also winning gold for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 is also up there, so it’s really difficult to pick just one. I’ve been on an amazing journey through swimming, I’ve learnt so much about myself and how to deal with certain situations. I love swimming and I’m lucky to have been a part of the sport for so long.”
Her coach, Dave McNulty, added:
“Jazz moved to us at the British Swimming National Centre Bath in 2014, with a clear vision, mind-set and ambition to win Olympic medals at the Rio 2016 Games. Over the next two years, Jazz left no stone unturned in her dream of making it to the Olympic podium and made a huge ‘Olympic Shift’. This simply means, we did everything better, with more focus, and with an unrelenting drive for excellence in every area.
“When I walked Jazz down to the call room at the Rio Olympic Games for her first Olympic final, we honestly knew that all had been done that we possibly could do, and Jazz was absolutely ready; with two individual Olympic silver medals the rest is history.”
Commenting on Carlin’s decision to retire, British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice said:
“Jazz has had an amazing career and was a valued leader in our squads. She moves on to the next chapter of her life as a double Olympic medallist, European and Commonwealth champion, which only a few British swimmers can claim.
“The most significant of all Jazz’s strengths was her ability to bounce back after the injury disappointments going in to London 2012, to turn that into two outstanding silver medals four years later in Rio.
“We will miss the determination that she brought to training every day and her infectious ‘never give up’ attitude. Jazz has already helped mentor our Performance Foundations squad with great success and we hope this will continue in future, as she has so much to offer aspiring young sports women and men. We wish her well in her future endeavours and we will continue to support her during this transition period.”