Two-time Commonwealth gold medallist Chris Walker-Hebborn has announced his retirement, calling time on a star-studded career in the pool.
The 28-year-old took a resounding double gold in 2014 at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, clinching gold in the 100m backstroke with a blistering time of 53.12 seconds, a Games record that still stands today, and the 4x100m medley relay.
Walker-Hebborn, from Bury St Edmunds, broke his own record time he set in the heats to beat Australian Mitch Larkin in the final. The swimmer was also a part of the Team England 4x100m medley relay squad that stormed to victory, edging out Australia to clinch gold.
The relay team, which also included Adam Peaty, James Guy and Duncan Scott, set a time of 3:31.51 seconds, which saw them break a Games Record, Walker-Hebborn’s second record time of the competition.
As well as his Commonwealth titles, the swimmer, who formerly trained at the University of Bath, is also an Olympic silver medallist after an impressive leg as part of the men’s 4x100m medley relay at Rio 2016.
On top of this, Walker-Hebborn has five gold medals from the European Championships in 2014 through to 2016, which includes an individual European title in the 100m backstroke. The 100m specialist enjoyed the best form of his career in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics, claiming a World title and snatching a World Record in 2015 as part of the mixed 4x100m medley relay team.
Walker-Hebborn announced his retirement via his official twitter account on Wednesday morning with an emotional statement, where he thanked his family, his friends and all the people that helped him achieve his dreams along the way.
“I have achieved more in swimming than I could have ever dreamed of when I was a young kid starting out in the sport,” he said in his statement. “Lots of people told me I’d never be able to do it, and if there’s one piece of advice that I can pass onto young swimmers or kids with a dream, it’s to never stop believing in yourself.”
All in all, Walker-Hebborn enjoyed a monumentally successful career, personified by his eight gold medals and one Olympic silver medal between the years of 2014 and 2016.