After a decorated 20+ year career in competitive swimming, including three Olympic appearances, an Olympic Gold Medal, and numerous world records, Darian Townsend has officially announced his retirement from competitive swimming. Although Townsend’s professional career is coming to a close he doesn’t plan on getting away from the pool anytime soon. With Townsend’s official retirement announcement, he also announces his new position as Head Coach of the YMCA West Side Silver Fins and as the Senior Aquatics Director for the Southwest Valley Family YMCA in Phoenix, Arizona. Townsend has always been passionate about coaching elite swimmers and about taking swimmers to the next level. He has consistently been involved in part-time coaching and clinics during his time as a pro. Now Townsend turns to full-time commitment to his athletes. As Head Coach at YMCA West Side Silver Fins, Townsend oversees the top swimmers on the team in the Senior Elite group in addition to the 9-12 year-olds in the Silver Group. As someone who has spent most of his career at the top of his field, Townsend is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience and to taking swimmers to the next level. Townsend made the following statement on his retirement from competitive swimming:
“Making the decision to retire from professional swimming is not an easy one. Ever since I was 12 years old, my passion was to compete at the highest level. I did that for over 15 years and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Swimming has given me so much. I have traveled the world, made many lifelong friends, received an education and met my soul mate. I could not have asked for more. I feel it is now time to switch my focus to educating and training the swimmers of the future. I’d like to thank all the coaches I have worked with in my career, firstly for being so patient and secondly for caring. Without your passion and belief in me, I would never have achieved the things I did. To my family; Mom, Dad, Cheryl and Claire. Thank you for understanding and supporting me through all the ups and downs. Having you guys as my support team helped me more than you’ll ever know. Roland, Lyndon and Ryk. What we achieved in Athens 2004 was really special and I will relive those incredible scenes in my head for the rest of my life. Thank you for being my brothers.”
Townsend, originally from South Africa, came to the US for his college education and NCAA swimming in 2004. During his collegiate career at the University of Florida and the University of Arizona, Townsend was a five-time NCAA Relay Champion and a two-time individual NCAA champion in the 200 FR (2007) and 200 IM (2008). Following college, Townsend continued to swim professionally as an A3 Performance athlete. As a pro, Townsend swam for both Team South Africa (’03-’12) and Team USA (’14-’16). Today, Townsend continues to train and race Master’s Swimming, currently holding more than 25 Master’s World Records! What else is up next for the newly retired Olympian? Townsend will marry fiancé and fellow Master’s swimmer Claire Ferro in April 2017. The two of them will continue to swim Master’s as long as they can.