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Trickett Contemplates Her Future

Sep 9, 2009  - Craig Lord

Has the sad suits saga claimed a big name? That is the question being posed in several news outlets around the world today after Libby Trickett was reported to be "contemplating quitting the troubled sport". 

Trickett, a defending champion beaten into third place in the 100m freestyle at the world championships in Rome and almost a second behind the winner, Olympic champion Britta Steffen, of Germany, announced that she is taking a break of a "few months" from swimming to consider her future and has not been in the water since the Rome circus. 

Now 24, Trickett is at that tricky age where she may, with much already achieved, opt to go the way of Henry, Thorpe and countless others down the years. Of course, the inspirational Dara Torres swinging door is always available. Time will tell.

"I am having a break at the moment and retirement is on my mind, but it is not something that I have confirmed," Trickett said in a statement. "I am only 24 and you are a long time retired. I firmly believe that you have to retire to something, not from something. "I love swimming and everything it has done for me. I will see where my head is at in a few months." 

Coach Grant Stoelwinder said he was surprised when Trickett told him she would not return to training after Rome and wanted to reconsider her future in the pool. It is understood that Eamon Sullivan has also considered a move away from Stoelwinder as he seeks fresh challenges.

Sullivan missed Rome entirely, while Trickett wore an arena X-Glide suit in relays to ensure that her teammates were not too badly affected by any loss of performance from her wearing the advantage suit of 2008, the LZR. Stoelwinder told the media that he had no doubt that Rome circus contributed to the loss of motivation for Trickett. 

"We went through a debrief and talked about next season and she said `I'm not sure I want to be there'," he said. "That took a lot out of her that whole saga ... it hurt that she was beaten and like `well do I have to win? Do I have to do this?' It is just now for her to take time, think about it and live life without swimming for a month or two or three and see if things change for her." 

The break may do Trickett a power of good. As Stoelwinder put it: "I would prefer her to do this (take a break) than to rush a retirement decision. It would be great if she can find the spark again. At the moment it's not there and there's probably other thoughts in the back of her mind." 

Talents such as Trickett "only come around every decade", he added, with a nod to the potential loss of Australia's best sprinter.