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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALLIST AND OLYMPIAN REBECCA COOKE TO STAND DOWN
The distance swimmer, who took freestyle bronze medals at both World & European Championships in 2006, as well as winning a gold at the Commonwealth Games in the same year, has taken the decision to step down after missing out on the opportunity to compete in Beijing with the British team in August.
"I was disappointed not to make the team for the Olympics this year as that was my one remaining goal," said Rebecca. "This has brought forward my retirement by a few months as I had already resolved that I would make the change after Beijing."
The achievement of bronze medals for the 800m Freestyle at the World Championships in both 2006 and 2003 are just two of the high points of Rebecca's international career. In 2004 she competed in the Athens Olympics and has won three Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2006 and 2002. Rebecca also broke British Records for 1500m Freestyle in 2003 and again in 2005 and the 800m Freestyle in 2004.
After being at the top of her sport for over a decade, Rebecca is now planning to return to her university studies.
"After taking the summer to enjoy time with my friends and family, my next step will be to complete the final year of my Physiology degree at the University of Glasgow," explained Rebecca.
"Swimming is the best thing that has ever happened to me and has shaped me into the person I am today. It has given me some fantastic experiences and I can retire knowing that I have given my all to a sport that has given me so much in return. I have travelled all over the world and have some very special memories which I will always carry with me."
Rebecca began her swimming career at Reading Swimming Club and then when she was 18 became one of the senior swimmers at City of Glasgow.
"I have made some very good friends throughout my time in swimming. The ten years I have spent on the British team has been the most special, I will really miss the camaraderie."
British Swimming Head Women's Coach Ben Titley will be sad to see Rebecca go but is very proud of her achievements.
"Becky has been a fantastic athlete, role model and personality to have on the British team. She's one of the toughest competitors we've seen in the sport for many years and testament to this is her success at World, European and Commonwealth level as well as the fact she's competed in two Olympic finals."
"Becky has a reputation for going that extra mile in training and I'm sure this hard work ethic will serve her well in her life outside of the sport."
22. January 91
Michael Bradley Photography