Edith van Dijk will officially retire from competitive swimming on Sunday after the 25K race at the European Open Water Swimming Championships in Croatia.
Back in 2005 after the most dominating performance at a FINA world championships where she won a gold in the 25K, a gold in the 10K and a bronze in the 5K, Edith retired for the first time - because she was pregnant. But, after giving birth to her daughter Rosanna and learning that open water swimming was added to the Olympics, Edith returned. "The Olympics hold much attraction for me," she said before finishing a respectible 14th in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing.
After her first marathon swim in the famous IJsselmeermarathon swim in Holland in 1990, she became a force on the professional marathon swimming circuit from 1993 to her dominating performance in the 2005 World Swimming Championships in Montreal.
Along the way, she crossed the English Channel, appeared in an Argentinian documentary where she played herself, obtained a Doctorate in Economy from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and was selected as the Dutch Sport Female of the Year in 2005.
We'll certainly miss this great athlete who has always presented herself with a wonderful mix of elegance, intelligence, respect for the sport and her competitors and a world-class competitive spirit.
Photo of Edith and her daughter on the 25K awards podium at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville. Photo taken by Javier Blazquez.