Australian Olympian Kai Edwards announces retirement from swimming aged just 24

Australian Olympian Kai Edwards has announced his retirement from swimming aged just 24.

The Queenslander made his debut at Tokyo 2020 and finished 12th in the 10K marathon, Australia’s best result at the event since Beijing 2008.

But he won’t be returning to the open water for Paris 2024 in a little over a year, having fallen out of love with competing at the front.

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Post-Olympic physical and mental health issues prompted Edwards to take a long break from swimming, but he fought back to make a comeback at international level in 2022.

After a cameo in the 50m pool at the Australian Swimming Championships last week, he went public with his decision to retire.

“I have loved being part of the Australia Dolphins swim team and will cherish the opportunities, memories and friendships the sport has given me,” said Edwards.

“Retiring was a difficult decision but the right one as my heart just isn’t with being a competitive swimmer anymore.

“I am very blessed with the support I have received from my friends, family and Swimming Australia over the years.

“I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved and can’t wait to start the next chapter in my life. Let’s trot.”

Swimming pop star Cody Simpson led a wave of support for Edward’s retirement with a touching message to his friend.

“Such a pleasure to meet you towards the end of your epic journey, glad I did,” he wrote.

“Congratulations on a great career. Just one chapter to close.”

After Australia’s Olympic champion Mack Horton commented on a crown emoji, love flowed from overseas as Olympic champions Michael Andrew and Gregorio Paltrinieri added their support.

“Congratulations, Legend! I will miss you but am excited for what comes next,” Andrew wrote.

Paltrinieri, bronze medalist at the 2020 Edwards race in Tokyo, hailed the Australian as “still the best fighter that (the) world of swimming has ever seen”.

Kai Edwards made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. Credit: Getty Images

Ahead of the Olympics, Edwards competed at the 2019 World Championships, finishing 14th in the 10K and an impressive fifth in the 25K – a race that lasted nearly five hours.

Most recently, in March, he competed in his favorite event, the LEN Open Water Cup, and finished 20th.

Edwards has previously detailed how he struggled with his mental health after the Olympics and only returned to swimming after working on his well-being.

“To be honest, I was disappointed to finish third,” he wrote after a race in January.

“Thinking about it, 12 months ago I was 45 pounds overweight and I was struggling physically and mentally.

“We have come a long way in 10 months. We will continue to grow.”

With his swimming career ending, Edwards’ competitive juices are flowing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“You guys make me obsess over more,” he teased after a recent event.

Olympic gold medalists staged in epic finals.

Olympic gold medalists staged in epic finals.

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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