Lizzie Simmonds Olympian European Champion

055: Lizzie Simmonds on Transition

The dynamic of retirement, transitions and change for athletes is rightly receiving much greater attention as athletes speak up and openly about their experiences – none more so this episode’s guest Lizzie Simmonds. Former international backstroker, two time Olympian, European champion – Lizzie has taken it upon herself to  write and speak about her experiences since her retirement in 2018 and now mentoring others.

Her blog, her speeches are some of the most candid, open, articulations of what it feels like, how she’s responded, the noise in her head, the loss of identity, the polarised reactions of excitement but being daunted, open to possibilities but feeling like an imposter.

Lizzie’s communications are not some sort of ‘woe is me’ plea for attention – these are balanced, considerate, heartfelt, humble and honest accounts – that have rightly been lauded for expressing what many feel but have found too overwhelming or chaotic to be able to capture. Not everybody can do what Lizzie has done, but I think that anybody experiencing a change can certainly benefit from Lizzie has given a voice to.

Show notes

Rediscovering exercise after retirement

Lizzie’s viral tweet and Piers Morgan and the dangers of social media

Openness and engagement

Blogging about retirement and transitioning

The challenges of retirement, the guilt, feeling disconnected and being honest about feeling a little lost

Preparing for retirement and the thought process involved ahead of time

Athletes who have amore balance lifestyle tend to do better at retirement

Defining yourself by your sport and the consequences of that single identity

Support networks the difficulty in diverting resources from performance aims to support retirement in order to help them transition successfully.

What compelled Lizzie to write her blog about transitioning.

What does Lizzie miss, and not miss, about swimming

Specific memories from Lizzie’s swimming career Rockstar in goggles 

Confidence and association with identity 

Future life – enjoying experiences and staying away from the rat race

If you’d like to follow Lizzie then you can do so on Twitter

and on Instagram

To find out more from Lizzie’s website including her blog go to

Supporting Champions on Twitter

Steve Ingham on Twitter

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