Double Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin has announced her retirement from swimming at the age of 28.
Carlin had struggled with illness and injury since failing to win a medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year, and subsequently said she was intending to take “time out” from the sport.
Carlin, who also won Commonwealth gold for Wales in 2014, said she would look back with fondness and satisfaction on her time at the top level.
Carlin, who won silver in the 400 and 800 metres freestyle at the Rio Games in 2016, told Press Association Sport: “It’s been an amazing journey full of ups and downs and it look me a long time to realise I deserved to be competing among the best in the world.
“Confidence was always something I struggled with, but my silver medals in Rio and obviously my gold for Wales gave me that belief and will always be the high points of my career.”
Carlin’s 800m freestyle gold in Glasgow came two years after the crushing disappointment of being overlooked for selection for her home Olympics in London, which she admitted had temporarily made her question her future in the sport.
“Having to watch London from the sidelines really knocked me back and at that time I certainly went through all the emotions of not knowing if I would get the chance to go to the Olympics,” admitted Carlin.
“It felt like an elephant on my shoulders all the time. It was the one experience I didn’t have and when I went through the Olympic trials for Rio it was one of the hardest weeks of my life.
“But with the hard work and determination and I made it back and was able to go to the Olympics and achieve my dreams. Coming back with two silver medals made all the heartache worthwhile.”
Carlin suffered a major setback last year after being diagnosed with pneumonia and was forced to admit defeat in her quest to forge a new career in open-water swimming.
“Open water gave me a new love for the sport, but after my injuries and illness it was just too tough to stay fit and healthy,” added Carlin.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be at my best for next year and I was still learning the open-water but the physicality of it didn’t really come natural to me.
“It feels like the right time to finish. It will still be difficult watching the Olympics next year because deep down I still want to be a part of it, but the time has come to stand back and support everybody else.”