Clément Lefert, the 25-year-old from Nice who was twice decorated at the London Olympics, has decided that the time to quit is when you're ahead.
Having won gold as part of the 4x100m French relay swimming team and silver as part of the 4x200m, he has decided to bring an abrupt end to his short career as a competitive swimmer, swap his Speedos for a pinstripe suit and become… a London trader.
“This title and this silver medal mark the end of my career, having achieved all that I wanted to achieve since I was a little boy,” the swimmer explained on Friday. “Very few swimmers are able to make a living out of swimming. I met some people in London who put some opportunities my way. I’m beginning a masters in market finance at the EDHEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales du Nord – Business School) in Nice and then in May, I’ll be working as part of a hedge fund team in London.”
Lefert began swimming a the tender age of five. He tried water polo and has concentrated on swimming full-time over the last three years, basing himself in the United States from 2009 to 2011. Now, he say, he wants to concentrate on a new challenge…
“I was looking for a job where I could keep the same levels of stress, excitement and emotional buzz in a competitive environment, like I had when I was swimming. I think I’ll be able to have all that as a trader.”
He will be certainly sorely missed amongst his former team-mates at the French swimming team, who will have to challenge for the World Championships in Barcelona next year without him.
“I knew that I would retire at some point, but I didn’t know when. This is the right time for me… even if I miss not going home every night exhausted.”