Two-time Olympian Scott Dickens, the first Canadian to post an under one-minute time in the 100-metre breaststroke, has announced his retirement from competitive swimming after a 10-year career with the national team.
The 29-year-old native of Ancaster who moved to the west coast 10 years ago retires as the Canadian record holder in both the 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke in the long-course pool.
“I’m going to miss my teammates the most,’’ said Dickens, who also competed at two Commonwealth Games, two Pan Am Games and three FINA World Championships. ‘’I was very proud to represent the greatest country in the world for so many years and at such big events as the Olympic Games. It was a gradual decision to stop, but I’m at peace with it now.’’
Dickens qualified for his first Olympic team in 2004 but didn’t make the cut for the 2008 squad. It was the turning point in his career as he roared back with four solid seasons capped by an appearance at the 2012 Olympics. He clocked the historic 59.85 in the 100-metre breaststroke in London.
“I wasn’t ready to retire in 2008, I couldn’t do it,’’ he said. “I wanted to be at the pool and I wanted to train. There was nothing I loved more than testing the limits of the human body. There was a challenge every day.’’
After training in the U.S. for a year, Dickens decided to head back north to join the Vancouver Dolphins headed by Tom Johnson at the National Swim Centre in Vancouver.
Dickens planned to continue in 2013 but suffered a concussion in January while snowboarding at Whistler. That derailed his training for several weeks and he didn’t recover in time for the World Championships trials in April.
The recent passing of his father, Bill Dickens, brought home the role his parents played in helping him balance athletics and academics.
“They helped me learn the valuable lessons in life, particularly self-discipline,’’ said Dickens, who also recognized the large roles played by his coaches in Ontario and B.C., including national team coach Tom Johnson.
Dickens, who married former national team member Michelle Landry two years ago, was also part of the RBC Olympian program. He worked with the company this summer and spoke to branch managers about team building and working with their employees.
“You have to persevere through the ups and downs,’’ Dickens said. ‘’You learn from your mistakes and focus on the task at hand.’’