Lizzie Simmonds

055: Lizzie Simmonds on Transition

The dynamic of retirement, transitions and change for athletes is rightly receiving much greater attention as athletes speak up and openly about their experiences – none more so this episode’s guest Lizzie Simmonds. Former international backstroker, two time Olympian, European champion – Lizzie has taken it upon herself to  write and speak about her experiences since her retirement in 2018 and now mentoring others.

Her blog, her speeches are some of the most candid, open, articulations of what it feels like, how she’s responded, the noise in her head, the loss of identity, the polarised reactions of excitement but being daunted, open to possibilities but feeling like an imposter.

Lizzie’s communications are not some sort of ‘woe is me’ plea for attention – these are balanced, considerate, heartfelt, humble and honest accounts – that have rightly been lauded for expressing what many feel but have found too overwhelming or chaotic to be able to capture. Not everybody can do what Lizzie has done, but I think that anybody experiencing a change can certainly benefit from Lizzie has given a voice to.


Show notes

Rediscovering exercise after retirement

Lizzie’s viral tweet and Piers Morgan and the dangers of social media

Openness and engagement

Blogging about retirement and transitioning

The challenges of retirement, the guilt, feeling disconnected and being honest about feeling a little lost

Preparing for retirement and the thought process involved ahead of time

Athletes who have amore balance lifestyle tend to do better at retirement

Defining yourself by your sport and the consequences of that single identity

Support networks the difficulty in diverting resources from performance aims to support retirement in order to help them transition successfully.

What compelled Lizzie to write her blog about transitioning.

What does Lizzie miss, and not miss, about swimming

Specific memories from Lizzie’s swimming career Rockstar in goggles 

Confidence and association with identity 

Future life – enjoying experiences and staying away from the rat race


If you’d like to follow Lizzie then you can do so on Twitter

and on Instagram


To find out more from Lizzie’s website including her blog go to


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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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