The 17th FINA World Championships will surely see new aquatic stars born, new generations of athletes will rise to the top. However, there are always icons retiring in a post-Olympic season, and they shall be greatly missed from the upcoming FINA World Championships in Hungary.
Cate Campbell (Australia) - Swimming
As the oldest of the five Campbell siblings, 25-year-ol Cate already has three Olympic Games and World Championships and an impressive medal tally behind her…
She qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games at the young age of 16 – she won a bronze medals in both the 50m freestyle and the 400m freestyle relay events. Just like at the Beijing Olympics, she finished third in the 50m freestyle in Rome in 2009 at the 13th FINA World Championships.
The Australian athlete took some time off from swimming due to an injury in 2010, but she bounced back to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics alongside her sister, Bronte. She was member of the gold medal winning 400m freestyle relay ensemble.
At the 2013 World Championships she won the 100m freestyle final, was a runner-up in the 50m freestyle, as well as in the 400m freestyle and 400m medley relays.
In 2014 Cate competed at the Pan Pacific Championships as well as the Commonwealth Games, racing in her primary sprint events. At Pan Pacs she won gold in all of her events, including both relays, and picked up all gold at the Commonwealth Games plus a silver in the 50m freestyle.
Campbell approached the 2015 World Championships in Kazan as a great favourite in the sprint events — she was ranked number one in the world in both the 100 and 50 meter events. She started off the Event with a gold in the 4×100m freestyle relay.
Considering to potentially stretch her career out to a fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, the Australian sprinter announced she will be not be racing in Budapest this summer.
“I am taking a long-term approach and focusing on the 2018 Commonwealth Games and then looking forward to 2020. So, this year isn’t about being the best, it’s about being my best. I am taking a bit of a mental health year. I am just making sure to be great mentally and physically because I do want to continue through to 2018 and possibly 2020. I am not retiring, I’m not thinking about retiring, I am just not making myself available for selection this year.’’
Márton Szivós (Hungary) – Water Polo
The Hungarian water polo fans will greatly miss one of the most popular players of the men’s national team, Márton Szívós.
Márton is just four years younger than the legendary, three-time Olympic champion generation of the 2000’s, however he did not have the great chance to be part of these successes. In 2004 he was on the World League-winning roster, but he was not selected to be part of the squad playing at the Athens Olympics. Many people thought he would make the team for Beijing, history repeated itself: in 2007 he won a silver medal at the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne, but in 2008 the head coach did not rely on him at the Olympics.
Márton was finally selected for the roster at the 2012 Games. However, after triumphing in 2000, 2004 and 2008, this time the Hungarian national men’s team finished on the rather disappointing fifth place in London. Yet, in 2013 at World Championships in Barcelona the rejuvenated team with the new head coach triumphed! Next year, the squad won silver at the European Championships, turning to 2016 with high hopes, but was really unlucky in Rio… after losing the quarter-final, a very disappointed Szívós said: “You need to know when you cannot continue anymore. I have just decided that I would retire from the national team after these Olympics.”
Natalia Ishchenko (Russia) – Synchronised Swimming
The phenomenon, the Russian legend... even the birds stop singing and the flies stop buzzing when Natalia Ishchenko in the water. She is an absolute icon, one of aquatics’ most decorated athletes; throughout her unprecedented career she won 21 medals (from which 19 are gold) only at the World Championships.
The queen of inimitable movements already mesmerized Hungarian spectators in 2006 at the European Championships in Budapest. She won her first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, then in London and Rio she also won in the duet and team events, recently announcing her retirement as a five-time Olympic champion.
Her motto is inspirational for all synchronised swimmers and aquatic athletes: 'Show what you are capable for!'