Swimming

Tokyo Gold Medalist, Big Ten Record Holder Bowe Becker Announces Retirement

Olympic Gold medalist Bowe Becker has announced his retirement from competitive swimming via an Instagram post today. Becker was a member of the U.S. 4×100 free relay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last summer, swimming a pivotal 47.44 on the 3rd leg to help the Americans win Gold.

After a lot of thinking and evaluating this past year, I have decided it is time for me to retire from the sport of swimming. This was not an easy decision to make, but I know it’s what is best for me.

In his post, Becker describes that he started swimming at 11 years old, but not necessarily because he wanted to. His swimming began as a mechanism to keep him healthy while battling Rheumatoid Arthritis, and he then discovered in his own words “I was good at it [swimming] and I loved athletics.” Becker then went on to thank all his family, friends, and coaches who supported him throughout his career. He thanks Jason Lezak in particular for believing in him despite returning to the ISL post-COVID lockdown “super out of shape”.

I proved to a lot of people I was a force to be reckoned with. Not too many people believed I could make it to the Olympics and yet there I was, standing on an Olympic podium at the end with a GOLD MEDAL in my hand.

Becker is the greatest men’s sprinter in University of Minnesota history, holding the SCY and LCM team records in the 50 and 100 free. He was a 3x individual Big Ten Champion during his time with the Golden Gophers and finished 2nd in the 100 free at the 2019 NCAAs, 3rd in the free in 2018, and 4th in the 50 in 2019. Becker also holds Big Ten Records in the SCY 50 free (18.69) and 100 free (40.83).

Becker began serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Minnesota at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season after he returned from Tokyo. He continued to train, even racing exhibition at t tri-meet in January, where he clocked a 19.58 50 free and 43.10 100 free. Becker competed at the U.S. International Team Trials in Greensboro two weeks ago, taking 19th in the 100 free with a 49.69 and 10th in the 50 free with a 22.22.

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