French swimming icon Camille Lacourt intends to put an end to his swimming career in Budapest, after the 17th FINA World Championships, he has announced ahead of the French National Championships to be held this weekend.

Leaving the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with no medal, Lacourt decided to give it a last chance to stand on the podium for the very last time in the city where he entered the international swimming scene back in 2010.

The 32-year-old, four-time world and five-time European champion in backstroke talked about his future plans to Jonathan Cohen, journalist of the Federation Francaise de Natation, prior to the French rendezvous, a qualifying event for the World Championships.

“I was planning to retire before Rio already. It happened differently and I didn’t want to retire with a bitter aftertaste, this is why I will enter the 50m backstroke at the World Championships in July.”

“I clinched my first European medal here in Budapest so the World Champs are quite promising hopefully. Just like after the London Olympics I missed out on a few months last year, too, however, this time the primary reason was to prepare my life post-swimming. I moved to Paris to spend more time with my daughter. Also, I opened a bar where I can continue my civil life after my sporting career.”

“I have been dealing with the question ‘what’s next? for years now and I consider this change a rebirth rather than a decline.”

“I love challenges, I need new goals. When I signed the rental contract of the bar and got indebted I felt the pressure and adrenaline again... Joke aside, I will never abandon swimming completely. In August, I will deal with small kids in a training camp, although I am not very keen on coaching because I find this job too hard.”

“I became famous through swimming and I wish to use this popularity to make people smile. When someone approaches me to ask for a photo or an autograph, they will definitely go home with a smile on the face. This is awesome really! It takes 2 seconds of my time only and I can make people happy. This is also why I participate in joint programmes of the French Federation and UNICEF. I like to use my popularity for a good cause.”

The French journalist then asked the athelte about his previous for the race on July.

“If I can make it to the finals, I will definitely be happy. If it was up to me, I would like to enter as early as 6.40 pm. What will I have in mind? I will definitely enjoy the moment to the full and I will thrive to win. I hate failure so I will be a bit disappointed if I don’t win.”

“I have a lot to do till then though. I do not want to rush my last race and I will try not to be overwhelmed by stress. It is also sure that when leaving the pool for the last time I will think about those people, coaches, family and friends who were always there for me, supported me and contributed to where I am now. Once more, for the last time.”