A 16-year old Ranomi Kromowidjojo announced herself onto the international scene at the 12th FINA World Championships. She retires today, 15 years later as one of swimming’s all-time greats.

From taking the first medal stand with the Netherlands with a bronze in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay at those 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne Kromowidjojo earned a list of accolades befitting a sporting personality the media referred to as the “The Flying Dutchwoman” of her generation. Over her career, Kromowidjojo won a total of 87 (!) medals at World Championships, European Championships and the Olympic Games, including:

  • Three Olympic golds and a silver medal, including taking the 50m and 100m freestyle sprint double at the London 2012 Olympic Games
  • 17 medals at the FINA World Championships (3 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze)
  • An all-time women’s record of 28 medals at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), including 2 golds and 6 medals total from the latest edition this past December in Abu Dhabi

Reflecting on her 16-year career as a sporting professional Kromowidjojo said, "I fulfilled my career as a professional athlete. Swimming will remain my passion, but no longer on a professional level.

“I have always been aware that there is more to life than professional sport and that it is part of a greater whole. Thanks to all the years of professional sport, I know that people are capable of much more than they think they are, partly by having the right mindset. I am convinced that these experiences will now help me with my next challenge of inspiring others."

Kromowidjojo's first strokes in the sport

Bon on 20 August 1990 in Sauwerd, Netherlands, Kromowidjojo got her swimming certificate at the age of 4, but only started competitive swimming four years later. "Unfortunately, it wasn't allowed before that age..." Kromowidjojo remarked about her time starting with the Ducdalf swimming club in Bedum. The swimmer then moved to PSV in Eindhoven in 2008, where she has lived and trained ever since.

Voted Dutch Sportswoman of the Year in 2011 and 2012, Kromowidjojo was a dominant force at the London 2012 Games, setting three Olympic records (100m Freestyle semifinals and finals, 50m Freestyle finals) en route to winning the Olympics sprint double as well as helping the Dutch take silver in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay, an event Kromowidjojo and company won at the Beijing 2008 Games.

The coaches that helped guide Kromowidjojo's career

Over the years, Kromowidjojo successively trained with coaches Jeanet Mulder, Jacco Verhaeren, Marcel Wouda and Patrick Pearson.

Pearson and Kromowidjojo had a particularly long campaign together as the coach held various assistant coaching roles with Kromowidjojo before he was ultimately responsible for her performance over five years.

"Ranomi has shown that talent can take you far, but that she has specially made a difference through wanting to do better every day than she did the day before,” Pearson said. “She swam every metre with dedication and focus.”

“Ranomi thrilled the entire swimming and sports-minded Netherlands with her sporting achievements and optimism. It was an honour to be able to work with her."

What’s to Come – A Focus on Social Causes

As for her future, Kromowidjojo is clear: "I want to make the world a bit more beautiful, contribute to a better world. She remains committed to UNICEF, the children's rights organisation where she has been a dedicated ambassador for many years.

"Hopefully, we can organise another Ranomi Cup for UNICEF in 2023 as well."