MELANIE NOCHER HAS announced her retirement from elite international swimming at the age of 24.
The Holywood, Co Down swimmer, who represented Ireland at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 revealed her decision on her website this afternoon.
She said, “I will always be involved with swimming at some level but I am now ready to move on to other challenges.”
I would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I can promise I will remember everyone who has helped me.
“I would like to thank Swim Ulster and Swim Ireland for all the coaching and support they have provided in and out of the pool.
“Thank you also to the Irish sports council and Sport Council Northern Ireland for financially helping me, ensuring I could live as an elite athlete to train full time and compete at my best.”
Nocher’s career highlights include qualifying for both Beijing and London Olympics, a bronze medal at the European Short Course Championships 2012 and being Irish National Champion six times before she was 19.
London 2012 was somewhat of a disappointment for her as she failed to qualify from the heats of the Women’s 100m Backstroke despite finishing third in her race.
The 200m Backstroke followed – her strongest event – but a bout of gastro intensitis led to a less than ideal heat and a seventh place finish.
Speaking to RTÉ at the time, she said, “It doesn’t reflect how I’ve trained and the four years I’ve put into this but not everything goes right on the day and unfortunately I just wasn’t right.”
Nocher, in her retirement announcement, also paid tribute to Loughborough University, her management team at Silver Hatch Sports, and sponsors, as well as training partners and coaches ‘throughout the years of my swimming career’
She concluded, “I am walking away from swimming a better all round person and have enjoyed every minute of it and made many many friends along the way.”