Swimming: Marren announces retirement
PUBLISHED: 11:51 01 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 01 February 2020
Former World, European and Paralympic swimming medalist Amy Marren has announced her retirement at the age of 21.
Hornchurch's Marren, a member of Romford Town Swimming Club, competed at the London 2012 Paralympics at the age of 14 and went on to win four gold medals and two silver at the 2013 IPC World Championships in Montreal.
Then, after winning two gold and five silvers at the 2014 IPC European Championships in Eindhoven, she bounced back from illness to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and won bronze in the 200m individual medley in the S9 class.
But after competing for Ireland in 2019, the former Hall Mead pupil has now deciced to call time on her competitive career, releasing a statement on social media which said: "So here it is...I hate the word retirement because truth be told I will never step away from swimming. I truly believe that when you have a love for a sport, you will always be involved somehow, no matter how far you may stray.
"Having taken time to reflect on my swimming career, the medals and awards are a drop in the ocean compared to the places I have been, the experiences I have had and the lifelong friends that I have met.
"Aside from all of that, and what I am truly most grateful for is the group of people that have always been in my corner and never once doubted my ability: my friends, my family and my coach Gary Rogers.
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"I am so proud of how far Paralympic sport has come. However there is a long way to go before it becomes a level playing field and this inconsistency across classifications is one reason why I a choosing to step away from a sport I have loved so very much.
"It is strange to believe that this exciting chapter of my life has come to an end, no more 5am alarms, no more weekends planned around competitions and so much free time.
"But now feels right for me. I have achieved all that I have set out to do and I am closing this chapter with a full heart and a huge smile on my face.
"I am forever grateful to swimming for making me the person that I am today, despite the challenges that I have faced. I hope that I have showed that with courage and determination, even your wildest dreams are within reach.
"But above any of that I hope I have shown that your different can be your superpower. I have always been told that 'they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel' and I have confidence that in some way I have touched people out there and encouraged them to always do what you love with passion in your heart and a fire in your belly."
Ireland international Ellen Keane was first to pay tribute to Marren, posting: "Huge congratulations to my roomie & teammate @amy_marren who announced her retirement today. Thank you for the laughs in and out of the pool. It was an honour to race you and an even bigger honour to have you as a teammaet. Good luck for the future."