Margo Geer looks on before competing at the TYR Pro Swim Series on Jan. 15, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.
Swimmer Margo Geer, who was expected to contend for an Olympic spot this summer as a sprint freestyler, has instead decided to retire from the sport and focus on her new job as the head swimming and diving coach at the University of Alabama.
A world champion and four-time 2019 Pan American Games gold medalist, Geer, 28, announced her decision on social media Wednesday in the form of a letter “To the sport I love.”
“You ignited something deep inside of me — a competitive fire,” her letter read, in part. “One so strong that no disappointment could be too painful, and no success could be too gratifying to extinguish.
“To the sport I love more than any other — thank you. I can’t wait to see you in a different light.”
Alabama offered the coaching position to Geer in December, and AD Greg Byrne obliged when she asked if she could delay her start date until after wrapping up her competitive career this summer.
Geer told TeamUSA.org last month that the opportunity to compete through Tokyo was key in her decision to take the Alabama job.
“That was one of the first things that I talked to Greg about,” Geer said, “that I had put a lot of time and energy in — and other people had put a lot of time and energy into the run-up to the Olympics — and it was something I didn’t really want to cut short. It’s still very much a huge opportunity to just perform at my best. I really wanted to finish it out and end on my terms.”
Geer didn’t specify in her post why she was deciding to hang up her swim cap now.
A native of Milford Center, a small town in central Ohio, Geer went on to compete for the University of Arizona, where she became a three-time NCAA champion for the school and was named Pac-12 Woman of the Year in 2015.
She qualified for her first world championships that year and earned a gold, silver and bronze medal as part of relay teams. After a few years away from the top international championships, she was back in 2018 to win a relay silver medal at the Pan Pacific Championships, then won another relay silver medal at the 2019 world championships before claiming four gold medals at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.