Two-time Olympic Games medallist Brenton Rickard has implored officials to build a post-career support network for Australia’s swimmers to help them transition to life out of the pool.
Rickard is helping Swimming Australia create a new program to prepare athletes for retirement as three of the sport’s golden boys – Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill – struggle with falls from grace.
Thorpe has battled depression, Hackett went to rehabilitation in the US for an addiction to sleeping pills and Huegill was arrested last week for alleged cocaine possession.
Photo by The Wolf
Rickard said the trio’s battles served as a reminder “no one is immune” from post-career struggles.
Officials are working behind the scenes to create a better support network and Rickard revealed he was part of a swimming “think tank” at the national titles in April.
Former 100-metre breaststroke world record holder Rickard retired from swimming last year after 13 years with the Australian team.
“You lose that identity, you go from being part of what we regard as being really special – the Australian swim team – to not having that at all,” Rickard said.