MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former 100 meters freestyle world record holder Eamon Sullivan has retired from the pool following medical advice not to swim on to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Swimming Australia said on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old, who also held the 50m freestyle world record, pulled out of the Commonwealth Games with a shoulder injury last month.
Alhough he won a relay world title in Melbourne in 2007 and another in Shanghai four years later, Sullivan has battled a succession of injuries in recent years and finishes his career without an individual title at any of the major international meets.
“Eamon made his debut onto the Australian swim team as an 18-year-old in Athens and then 10 years later was able to take out the men’s 50m freestyle at this year’s Australian championships which was a remarkable achievement,” Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said in a statement.
“As an athlete he’s been the world’s best, which is what we are all striving for as part of the goal to be the best in the world in and out of the pool by 2020.”
A triple Olympian, Sullivan announced himself in 2008 by eclipsing Russian Alexander Popov’s 50m freestyle record at a local event and fought a thrilling duel with Frenchman Alain Bernard for the 100m record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Sullivan improved the record during the heats with a swim of 47.05 seconds but Bernard pipped him by 0.11 seconds for the gold medal before breaking the 47 second barrier with a swim of 46.94 the following year.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney