Three-time Paralympic champion Hannah Russell retires

Hannah Russell celebrated another gold in Tokyo (Thomas Lovelock for OIS/PA) (PA Media)
Hannah Russell celebrated another gold in Tokyo (Thomas Lovelock for OIS/PA) (PA Media)

Three-time Paralympic champion Hannah Russell has announced her retirement.

The Surrey born-swimmer, 26, won S12 400m freestyle silver at London 2012 and also collected two bronze medals on her Paralympics debut.

Russell added a World Championships title the following year and won two golds at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, setting a new world record in the S12 100m backstroke.

Having taken time out from the sport to focus on her mental health and wellbeing, during which she completed a first-class Sports Science degree from the University of Salford, Russell returned to the pool for the Tokyo Paralympics, where she retained her S12 100m backstroke crown.

At the World Para Swimming Championships earlier this year, Russell secured a gold, two silvers and a relay bronze before closing her competitive career with S13 50m freestyle silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Russell, who won a total of 11 titles at Paralympic, World Championships and European level, said: “The time feels right for me.

“After three Paralympic Games and 35 international medals, finishing with a debut Commonwealth Games this summer was such an enjoyable experience – to be part of an integrated swimming team was really special, and with it being in Birmingham it meant lots of my family and friends could be there to support in the home crowd.

“In the pool, I have challenged myself both mentally and physically, working incredibly hard to get that extra one per cent needed to be the best, and from a sporting perspective I can say that I achieved everything I set out to achieve.

“I am leaving the sport on a high as I move on to a new challenge, and embrace a career in primary teaching.”

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

British Para-Swimming head coach Rob Aubry said: “Always striving to be dedicated and resilient both in and out of the water, Hannah has served as a superb role model on international teams for younger athletes.

“With her backstroke Paralympic title retained in Tokyo and world records intact, Hannah undoubtedly leaves the sport on a high.

“We wish her all the very best as she embarks on a new chapter, and look forward to seeing her continue to succeed in her future ambitions outside of the pool.”