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Australia’s Greatest Ever Paralympian Matt Cowdrey Announces Retirement

Australia’s greatest ever Paralympian, Matt Cowdrey, has today announced his retirement from swimming.

With 13 Paralympic Gold medals, the most by any Australian, Cowdrey competed at three Paralympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012), three Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006, Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014) and two World Championships (Durban 2006 and Rio de Janeiro 2009) over a ten year period.

Cowdrey said his decision didn’t come easily: “During my career I have always had a clear vision of where I was going and what I wanted to achieve in and out of the pool, over the past few months I have come to the realisation that the majority of my goals sit outside of the pool, and for these reasons I have made the tough decision to retire from competitive swimming.”

“I have been fortunate to have achieved more than I could ever have dreamed of, and more than I set out to achieve, and more importantly I have enjoyed every minute of my time on the Australian swim team.

“I would like to thank my family, and in particular my parents, my long-time coach Peter Bishop, my sponsors UNCLE TOBYS, Speedo and Mazda, all members past and present of the Australian swim team members and Swimming Australia Staff, the Australian Paralympic Committee, the South Australian Sports Institute, the AIS, and Norwood and Marion Swim clubs.

“What has made the decision so much easier has been the strength I see within Swimming Australia, and the current swimming leadership teams across the able bodied and Paralympic squads. I leave Australian Swimming in a strong and promising position, and look forward to supporting from the sidelines through to 2016 and beyond while helping mentor our young swimmers,” Cowdrey said.

Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said: “Matt’s achievements and success across three Paralympics and three Commonwealth Games demonstrate his outstanding talent, dedication and perseverance as an athlete.

“In addition to his many triumphs in the pool, Matt will be remembered by all Australians as an ambassador of swimming and Paralympic sport in our country. We wish him continued success in the next phase of his life and thank him for his contributions to swimming,” Anderson said.

Former Paralympic head coach, now Aquatics Manager and Head Coach at Genesis Christian College, Brendan Keogh, added: “Matt led by example, set his goals and expectations for himself extremely high and then carried out the process of achieving those goals in the most professional manner.

“He took the Paralympic Swimming world by storm and through his performances and leadership raised the standard and profile of the sport within Australia and on the international stage”.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the experience of seeing Matt’s international swimming career first-hand, from his first tour as a 12 year old to Berlin in 2002, to the 3 Gold in Athens, the 5 Gold in Beijing and then 5 Gold in London. I congratulate Matt on an amazing career and wish him every success in the future.”

Australian Paralympic Committee President, Glenn Tasker, added: “It has been an absolute privilege to watch Matthew develop from the quiet 15-year-old kid who competed at his first Paralympics in 2004, into one of the greats of Australian Paralympic sport. He has become an outstanding ambassador for the Paralympic movement, a leader of the Paralympic swim team and our most successful athlete ever,” Mr Tasker said.

“Matthew’s commitment and determination could never be questioned, and his performances and success in the pool have been a contributing factor to the increase in profile for the Australian Paralympic movement over the past 10 years.

“I have no doubt that Matthew will go on to a successful career after swimming. He leaves a lasting legacy among his team-mates and the wider Australian Paralympic movement and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

 

 

Matthew’s career highlights:

  •  19 x World Records (Broke his first World Record at 13 years of age)
  • 19 x World Records (Broke his first World Record at 13 years of age)
  • 2006 World Championships (South Africa) x 3
  • 2006 Commonwealth Games (Melbourne) x 2
  • 2008 Paralympics (Beijing) x 5
  • 2009 World Championships (Brazil) x 7
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games (Delhi) x 1
  • 2012 Paralympics (London) x 1
  • 13 x Paralympic Gold Medals
  • 2004 (Athens) x 3
  • 2008 (Beijing) x 5
  • 2012 (London) x 5
  • 23 x Paralympic Medals
  • 13 x Gold Medals
  • 7 x Silver Medals
  • 3 x Bronze Medals
  • 17 x World Championship Medals
  • 12 x Gold Medals
  • 4 x Silver Medals
  • 1 x Bronze Medal
  • 4 x Commonwealth Games Medals
  • 3 x Gold Medals
  • 1 x Silver Medal
  • IPC Best Male Athlete of the Year- 2008
  • APC Paralympian of the Year- 2008
  • OAM recipient- 2005

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