“Drained” Wylie retires after reclassification

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Words by Colette Carr

Paralympic champion Matt Wylie is to retire from competitive swimming at just 21, following his recent reclassification from S9 to S10.

As the reclassification debate rages on, the City of Sunderland swimmer who won 50m freestyle gold in Rio in his previous S9 classification said it wasn’t a decision that was made lightly.

Wylie, who holds three British Records, also won a European gold in Funchal, Portugal in 2016 and broke his first British record at 15 back in 2012.

And he noted how the change in category has skewed his path to success as a major factor in making his choice.

He 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.

“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.”