Paralympic swimmer Fran Williamson announces retirement

Paralympic swimmer Fran Williamson
Williamson has won 23 international medals over her career

British Paralympic swimmer Fran Williamson has announced her retirement from the sport.

The 26-year-old from Cambridge, who has cerebral palsy, competed at two Paralympic Games in Athens and Beijing, winning four silvers and two bronzes.

In 2010 she won gold in the 50m backstroke in the World Championships in Eindhoven.

"My career has brought me so much. Everyone involved with the sport has been amazing to work with," she said.

"As well as 23 treasured international medals, I'm grateful for the things and experiences I've gained: friends, knowledge and motivation, as well as empathy for sports people who have to squeeze into skin-tight suits to compete!

"But the opportunity to train, travel and compete with some of the most talented people in the world has been the ultimate highlight and a true privilege."

Williamson won two bronzes at the European Championships in Berlin earlier this year, which proved to be her final major international competition - 10 years after she made her international debut.

"In Germany I realised that with new athletes coming through in my S3 category, the chances of me being able to compete for a place on the podium in London were pretty tough," she added.

"Instead of this being a negative, I turned it into a positive. I always knew that there'd be a sign when it was time for me to stand down - this was definitely it, especially when I realised what I could offer outside the pool. I came up with tons of plans, which I'm excited about, and finally decided it was time for a new chapter."

National Performance Director John Atkinson added: "Fran has had a key role in the sport for the past decade and I know this decision must have been difficult for her to make. Her achievements in the sport have been vast and they are an outstanding credit to her and British Swimming."

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