HomeNews ArticlesOlympic gold medallist Chelsea Hodges announces retirement
Australian Dolphins | 24 May 2024

Olympic gold medallist Chelsea Hodges announces retirement

SWIMMING Australia today recognised and thanked Chelsea Hodges for her incredible years of service to the Australian Dolphins and the swimming community.

With “no more breaststroke kicks left”, Hodges today announced her retirement from international competition and will not be competing at the Olympic trials in Brisbane from June 10-15.

The 22-year-old retires as an Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m medley relay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, a dual bronze medallist in the 50m and 100m breaststroke from the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the national record holder in the 50m breaststroke.

Speaking from her home on the Gold Coast, Hodges – who will continue in her role as an emerging athlete leader – said: “There simply weren’t enough breaststroke kicks left in me.”

The Tokyo medley relay gold medallist said instead of continuing to roll the dice on career-saving surgeries she opted for quality of life.

“I had my first hip operation at 15 … and another one last year, I actually have the hips of a 60-year-old. I wanted one last chance at the Games but after six cortisone injections, I had to make a decision on my future,” she said.

“And I am completely at ease at calling time. I am excited about what my future holds … I know this decision means I can continue working in my career as a nurse, where I am on my feet all day.

“And hopefully, all things going to plan, run on the beach with my kids. I’ll still be cheering on the Dolphins in Paris and can’t wait to see how the team goes.”

From the age of three, Hodges wanted to swim for Australia and started learn-to-swim classes at Biloela, population 6000, in country Queensland before her family moved to the Gold Coast.

She represented Australia for the first time at the FINA World Junior Championships in Indiana in 2017, and then four years later at the Tokyo Games found herself in elite company as she lined up for the final of the 4x100m medley relay.

The impressive line-up included Emma McKeon (butterfly), Kaylee McKeown (backstroke) and Cate Campbell to anchor the team home in the freestyle, but it was Hodges with the swim of her life that proved the key to gold.

Going into the final, Hodges was 1.65sec slower than the time American Lydia Jacoby had recorded to win the individual 100m breaststroke but as Hodges touched, she was only 0.54 seconds behind and it was game on for the Dolphins.

Australian head coach Rohan Taylor said: “Chelsea’s swim in that final was phenomenal … and it contributed to the team being able to take the gold medal.”

“She persevered for so long to make Paris possible, and she went so close, so it is with mixed emotions that I congratulate Chelsea on her wonderful career.

“But she won’t be lost to us at Swimming Australia, she will continue in her role as an assistant to performance support and provide valuable insight to the athlete experience, in and out of the pool.”

Hodges added: “I feel so privileged to have been a Dolphin and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my coach Sean Eels, my parents, my partner Nick, strength and conditioning coach Matt Ferraro, physio Nick Marshall and my doctor who was honest enough to tell me the hard truth, John Ward.

“To my dear friends Mollie (O’Callaghan) and Kaylee (McKeown) thank you for being so supportive and such good friends … to come back from the injuries I’ve had … and to make this call, I’m so incredibly proud of myself, and hope others are too.”


  • In 2022, Hodges broke the Australian record in the 50m breast at the Australian Trials with 30.15secs before lowering that mark at the Commonwealth Games to 30.05secs to win bronze.
  • World record and gold medal – 4 x 50m Medley Relay at the 2022 World Short Course Championships.
  • Part of Australia’s 200m medley relay team that broke the world record (1:43.35) at the Short Course World Championships in December 2022.
  • At the Tokyo Olympics, she helped Australia’s 4x100m medley relay team break an Olympic record (3:51.60) en route to the gold medal.
  • Gold medal – 4 x 100m medley relay at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • Bronze medal – 50 & 100m breaststroke at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.