Lithuania’s Olympic swimming champion Meilutyte to quit career at 22

Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania’s swimming medalist in the Olympics, World and European championships, has decided to quit her professional career at age 22, the Lithuanian Swimming Federation (LPF) announced on Wednesday.

Meilutyte, who first became London Olympics champion in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke competition aged 15, said the decision had been made after much consideration and “is one of the most complicated one” of her life.

“Swimming has brought me life that I could have never think of,” said Meilutyte in a statement.

“Now I want to use this special experience in another distance, outside the swimming pool,” said the athlete.

According to Meilutyte, she decided to return to the studies that she had to postpone due to her swimming career.

“Up until now, I’ve been fully committed to swimming. I want to experience simple things, develop myself, to know myself and the surrounding world better,” said the Lithuanian swimmer.

During her career, Meilutyte has won 20 gold, 10 silver and 1 bronze medals in top international swimming competitions. According to LPF, she still holds world record in women’s 100-meter breaststroke long course, European records in 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke long and short courses.

“Her victories become legendary, her determination was again a testament to the fact that we can achieve major victories despite being a small country,” Emilis Vaitkaitis, the President of LPF, said in a statement.

Recently, Meilutyte faced a threat of being suspended for up to 2 years after missing 3 drug tests in 12 months. The Lithuanian swimmer previously had a clean record in anti-doping tests.