Paralympic champion Matt Wylie is to retire from competitive swimming.

The Rio S9 50m freestyle gold medallist has taken the decision following a recent classification review that saw him move to an S10.

The City of Sunderland swimmer, said: “The decision to retire has been something I have thought long and hard about over the last few weeks.

“A recent reclassification has seen me move from an event where I have podium aspirations to one where I am unlikely to make a top eight.

“The process of going through a change in classification has drained me of my passion for the sport that I held so close to me.

“I feel I cannot compete to the high standard I put upon myself. I understand the importance of robust classification but in this instance it has gone against me.

“This is something I have discussed at length with my coach, Danny Thompson, who has supported me through this process.”

In a lucrative career Wylie, who holds three British Records, also won a European gold in Funchal, Portugal in 2016.

His first British Record came in 2012, when he was just 15.

The 21-year-old added: “Swimming has provided me with hundreds of opportunities that I will be eternally grateful for.

“British Para-Swimming and UK Sport have provided me with much-needed support and guidance, helping me achieve my dream of representing my country at a Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. Representing my country at such a prestigious event will be a memory I keep close to my heart forever.

“Becoming a Paralympic Champion is something I had dreamed about since I was 11 years old, watching the Paralympics in Beijing at home.

“For me achieving this goal has been the greatest achievement in my life to date.”

Matt now hopes to complete his law degree, but still hopes he has time to support young swimming stars in their bid to achieve similar success.

Chris Furber, National Performance Director for British Para-Swimming said: “Matt has made an enormous contribution to para-swimming. He is one of the most professional and dedicated athletes I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.

“Classification is a key part of all para-sport, and whilst we respect and support Matt’s decision he will certainly be missed by the athletes, coaches and staff on the team.

“With his drive to succeed I have no doubts he will have a fantastic career away from swimming, just as he did in the pool. And we hope he will continue to be part of British Para-Swimming in some capacity in the future”

About British Swimming

British Swimming is the National Governing Body for Swimming, Para-Swimming, Diving, High Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain. It is responsible internationally for the high performance representation of the sport. The members of British Swimming are the three Home Countries national governing bodies of England (Swim England), Scotland (Scottish Swimming) and Wales (Welsh ASA). British Swimming seeks to enable its athletes to achieve gold medal success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

About UK Sport

Every athlete who has received National Lottery funding will have a story to tell of the difference that it has made to their Olympic or Paralympic dream. But the simple truth is that the National Lottery has taken sport in the UK to a new level. Each successive Games proves that there is no longer any margin for error if you want the top prize. Medals are won and lost by the smallest possible margins – the power of UK Sport’s National Lottery investment is in its ability to seek out those tenths, hundredths or even thousandths of a second, wherever they exist, and make sure that if there’s a close call, British athletes emerge on the winning side.

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