EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (Reuters) – - Buoyed by becoming the first woman to dip under 23 seconds for 50-metre freestyle, veteran Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands said on Thursday she would continue her career through to the next Olympic Games.
She won gold in London in 2012 in the 50m and 100m freestyle, but she has since been overshadowed in by younger rivals like Canadian teenager Penny Oleksiak, Bronte Campbell of Australia, Simone Manuel of the U.S. and Swede Sarah Sjostrom, who set a new world record of 23.69 seconds in winning the 50m at the World Championships in Budapest last month.
“I thought it would be more difficult to keep going, physically, but I’m still standing,” said Kromowidjojo, now 26. “I said I would continue until the World Championships in Budapest, and after that I would decide whether to keep swimming, but I knew before Budapest that I would.”
“So I decided today, because there was a press conference, that I would tell everybody, and then the word is out. That way, nobody is talking about my last races coming up and putting pressure on me. I really love swimming, and love improving at it, getting better every day.”
Kromowidjojo set a time of 22.93 for the 50m at the short course World Cup event in Berlin on Monday. She swims again in the World Cup series in Eindhoven on Friday.
She first won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008 as a member of the Dutch 4x100m freestyle relay team before emerging as one of the stars of the pool at the London Games.
Five years on, she won three silvers and a bronze at the World Championship in Budapest last month.
The next Olympics are in Tokyo in 2020.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Larry King