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Athletes

Ruta
Meilutyte
LithuaniaLithuania, LTU
Female
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
19 March 1997
Height
176 cm
Weight
75 kg
Residence
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Lithuanian

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age five.
Club / Team
Trojan Swim Club: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Name of coach
Dave Salo [club], USA

General Interest

Nicknames
Roots (Twitter profile, 25 Jun 2018)
Hobbies
Cooking, walks on the beach. (NOC Media Guide, 2016)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Rebecca Soni. (bbc.co.uk, 01 Aug 2013)
Injuries
In September 2015 she suffered a broken elbow after falling off her bicycle. She required surgery on the injury and after initially expecting to return to competition at the 2016 Euro Meet in January in Luxembourg, she was forced to postpone her comeback. She eventually returned to competition just ahead of the 2016 European Championships, in which she went on to win the 100m breaststroke. (bbc.co.uk, 15 Sep 2015; swimswam.com 29 Jan 2016; SportsDeskOnline 18 May 2016)
Other information
DEPRESSION
In April 2018 she announced that she had been suffering from depression since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "I have depression and I fight every day against it. It's a battle. With the help of my family and friends, I found ways to deal with it and feel better. But I'm not free and I feel I still have to work to get out of it." (swimswam.com, 19 Apr 2018)

FILM
A film chronicling her life 'Ruta' was released in March 2018. (swimswam.com, 26 Feb 2018)

GLOBETROTTER
After being raised for most of her life by her grandmother in Lithuania, she moved to Plymouth, England, in 2010 where her father was already working as a carer. Her mother died in a car accident when Ruta was four years old. In late 2016 she moved back to live and train in Kaunas, Lithuania, after her coach Jon Rudd left Plymouth to coach in the Republic of Ireland. "After starting to train in Kaunas I decided I wanted to be in the city I grew up in. The possibility of going abroad was no longer an option." However, since then she spent time training in Australia in 2017 with coach Michael Bohl and in 2018 in the United States of America with coach David Marsh's Team Elite in San Diego, CA. In March 2018, she announced that she had finally settled in the US with coach Dave Salo at Trojan Swim Club in Los Angeles, CA. (swimswam.com, 17 Mar 2018; 17 Jan 2018; delfi.lt, 15 Feb 2017; 15min.lt, 14 Feb 2017; federnuoto.it, 22 Jun 2016; telegraph.co.uk, 30 Jul 2012)

NATIONAL FIRSTS
In July 2013 she became the first Lithuanian female to break a swimming world record since the country gained its independence from the Soviet Union when she finished the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.35 during the semifinals of the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Her ensuing gold medal in the event was Lithuania's first at the world championships. At 16 years and 133 days old, it made her the youngest female to win Olympic and world championships gold in the 100m breaststroke. Also, at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, she became the first Lithuanian to win a medal in the history of the event by winning gold in the women's 50m breaststroke. (insidethegames.biz, 13 Dec 2012; Infostrada Sports, 29 Jul 2013; Infostrada Sports, 30 Jul 2013)

YOUNGEST CHAMPION
Her gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games in London made her Lithuania's youngest Olympic champion in any sport. (swimming.org, 18 Feb 2013)

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