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Olympian swimmer Van Biljon calls it a day

Another multiple Olympian has been lost to South African swimming, writes Mark Etheridge.

It was late last year that three-time Olympian Mandy Loots hung up her swimming costume and this time around it’s double Olympian Suzaan van Biljon who has called it quits.

Van Biljon was a finalist in the 200m breaststroke event at the London Olympics. She was hoping to be part of the South African team to this year’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona but failed to qualify during the Mare Nostrum series leading up to the championships.

Now just 25 years old, she took time out on terra firma earlier this year to re-assess things ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. She told Road to Rio 2016: “One thing I’m sure of is that when I’m fit and I know in my mind that I’ve done good training in and out of the pool that my confidence will pick upÔǪ and the results will show in the pool”.

But, as she explained in a letter to the University of Pretoria where she trained at High Performance Centre, she has switched focus. “I regret to inform you that I have decided to retire from swimming and start a new dream. It has been a tough but wonderful journeyÔǪ”

Van Biljon grew up in Bloemfontein but moved to Pretoria in 2005 and also had a spell in Durban.

Her first major title was when she won the 100m breaststroke title at SA Championships in Durban in 2004, aged just 14.

She competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as in London last year.