Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

2020 Olympian and former University of Kentucky standout Ali Galyer has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. 

Galyer made the announcement on her Instagram account, where she wrote, “Excited for the next chapter.”

“As I close this chapter of my life I feel incredibly thankful for the lifelong friends and memories I’ve made. For 18 years, swimming has been my whole life filled with blood, sweat and tears. The sacrifices and early mornings were all worth it.”

“As much as I am proud of myself for the career that I had, making it to the epitome of world sport, I hope more that I have been a role model for the younger generation to follow their dreams. To know that it might not feel worth it in the moment, but if you truly want to accomplish something that no one should stop you. You can achieve greatness.”

“A final thank you to my family for sticking by my side through everything. I truly could not have done it without your guidance and support. To my ride or dies (you know who you are), thank you for constantly telling me that I can do it, even if I didn’t believe it myself. I love each and everyone of you. On to the next adventure. See ya swimming. ✌🏼🤍 PS. @instagram can you please let me tag more than 20 people, thank you.”

Galyer was a 4-time All-American during her career at Kentucky, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in 2017,2018, 2019, and 2020. During her career, she also won multiple medals at the SEC Championships and was an SEC runner-up in the 500 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay in 2020. Galyer’s highest finish at the NCAA Championships came in 2018, when she placed 6th overall in the 200 backstroke, leading Kentucky’s historical backstroke contingent. 

For the majority of her high school and collegiate career, Galyer competed for the United States, making the 2016 US Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 backstroke. A consistent force on the national level for the next 2 years, Galyer never represented the United States internationally. In 2018, she switched her sporting-citizenship to represent New Zealand internationally as her dad was born in the country. The move worked out for Galyer, who went on to represent New Zealand at the 2019 World Championships in the 100 and 200 backstroke, appearing in the 200 backstroke semi-finals. Following her graduation from Kentucky in 2020, Galyer moved to New Zealand to train full time, qualifying to represent the country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

At the Olympics, Galyer contested the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, and 4×200 freestyle relay. Galyer ultimately finished 33rd in the 100 backstroke and 24th in the 200 backstroke in Tokyo, failing to make the semi-finals of either event. 

Galyer is one of the first Tokyo Olympians to announce their retirement from the sport following the Games.

By senior