Aaron Peirsol stood and waved from the champion's top spot on the podium moments after winning the 100-meter backstroke Aug. 18, 2010.
His hometown crowd cheered for him at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine. They were happy to see him win and they were looking forward to what he would provide next. But Peirsol knew his career was over, he said Wednesday when he explained his reasons for retiring.
Peirsol's coach Eddie Reese told swimmingworldmagazine.com Tuesday that the five-time Olympic gold medalist had retired.
Peirsol, a former Newport Harbor High star, said he never really thought to make his retirement public or "to make a big deal about it."
He told people close to him that he was done with competitive swimming shortly after the Pan Pacific Championships in August.
"I ended up doing everything I set out to do," Peirsol said during a phone interview from his home in Austin, Texas. "It was an amazing feeling to know that I was done when I was on that podium."