Former European champion and Olympic finalist Jemma Lowe has called time on a swimming career spanning more than a decade.
The 26-year-old butterfly swimmer’s first international test came in 2006 at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games when swimming for Wales and since then she has competed at two Olympics, four World Championships, two further Commonwealths and numerous Europeans over both long and short course.
Lowe, who was born in Hartlepool and began her career with Stockton, has won medals at Commonwealth, European and World (25m) level and rounded off her international haul with European gold as part of the world record-setting 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay team in 2014.
“After giving so much to the sport, it’s been a tough decision to make but I feel the time is right to move on to the next stage of my life,” said Lowe, who has been based at the National Centre, Bath.
“Making the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012 are certainly two of the highest points of my career. It means so much when you achieve something you have dreamed of as a child and worked so hard for.
“I remember qualifying for the Beijing Games on the day of my 18 birthday, I dived into that race and gave it literally everything. My Olympic debut in 2008 was daunting and I only just made the semi-finals but after I settled I made it through to the final, found myself in my ‘zone’ and finished sixth. My family was there supporting me – it was one of my proudest moments.”
Four years later and Lowe was in the Olympic spotlight again. She remembers with great pride what it was like to appear at a home Games in 2012.
“It is a memory that I will treasure forever,” said Lowe. “It was the chance of a lifetime and I will never forget the home crowd support – the noise and the passion was immense.”
Lowe plans to remain in Bath, where her partner and World Champion relay swimmer Calum Jarvis trains, and will continue to run a business she started last year.
“Swimming will always be part of my life and I’ve just started my own swimsuit business which I will be putting all of my efforts into going forward,” said Lowe.
“When I look back at my swimming career I’m thankful for so much. I’ve travelled the world and met so many amazing people that will be friends for life.
“Swimming has made me the person I am today. It’s taught me how to cope with pressure and conquer the toughest of challenges at the very highest level and I now plan on utilising these skills as I begin the next stage of my life.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been a part of my career.”
Reflecting on her career British Swimming Head Coach Bill Furniss describes Jemma as an example to others through her work ethic and dedication to the sport.
“Jemma has had a long career and has reaped hard-earned success along the way. For someone to have been at the top for 10 years is impressive and is testament to her attitude,” said Furniss.
“She is one of only a few swimmers to win medals at Commonwealth, European and World (25m) level and rounded off her international haul with a world record relay swim.
“Jemma has had a
distinguished career. She has been a pleasure to have on the team and gave
everything her best. She is a great example to others as someone who is
dedicated and applied.”