AFTER becoming a household name at 14, triple Olympic gold medallist Leisel Jones has bid farewell to competitive swimming today, announcing her retirement in Brisbane.
The 27-year-old, who returned from a record breaking fourth Olympic Games in London as a silver medallist in the 4x100m medley relay, won a total of nine Olympic medals including double gold in Beijing, and individual silver in Sydney, in a career that has spanned more than a decade at the top.
Jones re-wrote the history books on a number of occasions, breaking 12 individual long course world records, and will be widely regarded as one of the best breaststroke swimmers to ever grace the lanes.
After three Olympic Games, five World Championships and three Commonwealth Games, Jones would again make history at the 2012 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships as the first Australian swimmer, male or female, to qualify for a remarkable fourth Olympic Games - Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.
Having first started swimming at the age of two for water safety, Jones says she is ready to face life post-swimming, especially after all the hard training, early mornings and elite level competition over the last 20 odd years.
"I have a natural competitive drive and I think that will carry through into whatever I do after swimming," Jones said.
"Of course swimming will always be a big part of my life but I am extremely proud of my achievements.
"To represent Australia at four Olympic Games is something that is very humbling and each one holds different memories and significance for me."
"I've basically grown up as a member of the Australian Swim Team, travelling the world competing, and I feel very honoured to have had so many wonderful opportunities and so much fantastic support along the way."
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent said Jones' attitude and enthusiasm over the years has been inspiring.
"Qualifying for her fourth Olympic Games was an outstanding achievement and just another milestone in a what has been a remarkable career for Leisel," said Nugent.
"She is probably one of the fiercest competitors that we have ever seen, and her dominance at national and international level has been terrific.
"Leisel has inspired a whole generation of athletes with her success and hard work, and her contribution to swimming in Australia, especially breaststroke, will be her lasting legacy."
Jones won nine Olympic medals including three gold, 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and 11 in total, seven World Championship gold medals and a staggering 23 national long course titles, putting her on par with some of the greats of Australian swimming.
Born: Katherine, Northern Territory
Lives: Brisbane, Queensland
Main Event: 100m and 200m breaststroke
PERSONAL BEST TIMES - LONG COURSE (50m Pool)
50m breaststroke - 50m breaststroke - 30.55 - 2006 Commonwealth Games
100m breaststroke - 100m breaststroke - 1:05.09 - 2006 Commonwealth Games CR
200m breaststroke - 200m breaststroke - 2:20.54 - 2006 Australian Championships AR
PERSONAL BEST TIMES - SHORT COURSE (25m Pool)
50m breaststroke - 50m breaststroke - 29.78 - 2009 FINA World Cup - Berlin
100m breaststroke - 100m breaststroke - 1:03.00 - 2009 FINA World Cup - Berlin CR
200m breaststroke - 200m breaststroke - 2:15.42 - 2009 FINA World Cup - Berlin CR
- Made history in 2012 as the first swimmer, male or female, to qualify for four Olympic Games
- Nine-time Olympic medallist, including three gold, five silver and one bronze
- Won seven gold medals, four silver and three bronze at five FINA World Championships (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011)
- Became Australia's youngest ever Olympic Games swimming medallist when she won silver in the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m medley relay in 2000 at just 15 years of age.
- 12 individual long course world records
- 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and 11 medals in total
- 23 National Long Course Titles
AUSTRALIAN SWIM TEAM MAJOR REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS AND RESULTS
London, England 2012 Silver: 4x100m medley relay, 5th 100m breast
Beijing, China 2008 Gold: 100m breast, 4x100m medley Silver: 200m breast
Athens, Greece 2004 Gold: 4x100m medley Silver: 200m breast Bronze: 100m breast
Sydney, Australia 2000 Silver: 100m breast, 4x100m medley
Shanghai, China 2011 Silver: 100m breast, Bronze: 4x100m medley, 6th 50m breast
Melbourne, Australia 2007 Gold: 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley Silver: 50m breast
Montreal, Canada 2005 Gold: 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley
Barcelona, Spain 2003 Silver: 200m breast, Bronze: 100m breast, 4x100m medley, 4th 50m breast
Fukuoka, Japan 2001 Gold: 4x100m medley, Silver: 100m breast, 4th 200m breast
Delhi, India 2010 Gold: 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley, Silver: 50m breast
Melbourne, Australia 2006 Gold: 50m breast, 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley
Manchester, England 2002 Gold: 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley, 4th 50m breast
Pan Pacific Championships
Irvine, California 2010 Silver: 100m breast, 200m breast, 4x100m medley Bronze: 50m breast
Yokohama, Japan 2002 Gold: 4x100m medley Silver: 200m breast, 4th 100m