Former European champion Robert Glinta retires

LOC / Istvan Derencsenyi

Romanian Robert Glinta has made the surprise decision to finish his competitive swimming career and retire at the age of 25.

The backstroke specialist claimed gold at the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Budapest in 2021, but despite now being in his prime years he has decided against continuing his international career.

Romanian swimming celebrated the arrival of David Popovici as a major medal contender in 2022 and Glinta was arguably their second biggest name.

“The time has come for me to take a step back from competitive swimming,” he wrote on social media.

Through highs and lows this sport has taught me so much and truly made me grow into the more evolved human being I am today.

“Whether it is pain or glory, failure or success, suffering or bliss, the amount of responsibility, discipline, dedication, ambition through hard work to achieve a goal and overcome adversity and obstacles, grew deep roots within myself that will forever stay with me.

Glinta and Popovici shared the Romanian ‘swimmer of the year’ title in 2021 – source @robglinta.

It was in 2015 when Glinta caught the attention for the first time by winning the 100m back at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore. The feat was followed by a steady development. Entering the senior field, he made the finals at the 2016 Europeans in London, and also booked a spot in the Olympic final in Rio where he finished eighth.

The 2018 Europeans brought the first ‘big’ medal for him, a silver in the 50m back in Glasgow – was fourth in the 100m – and next year he managed to make back-to-back finals now at the Worlds in Gwangju, where he came seventh in the dash and eighth in the 100m.

By 2021, he graced the scene as a top medal-contender, and he became European champion in Budapest in the 100m and finished runner-up in 50m.

However, this wasn’t converted to bigger Olympic success as he repeated his eighth place finish from five years earlier in Tokyo. As a consolation, he clinched his first World medal in the 100m, a bronze at the season-ending short-course bonanza in Abu-Dhabi. 

And again, even though he could return for the 2022 World Championships to his ‘favourite’ Duna Arena, where he had claimed two medals in 2021, he couldn’t get rid of the eighth place finish in the 100m and the fifth position in the 50m wasn’t that pleasing either.

Struggling with a leg injury, he had to bypass the Europeans and though he came back and tried his luck in Melbourne, at the short-course Worlds last December, he had to settle for an 28th place in the 100m.

LOC / Istvan Derencsenyi

And just three weeks later, this Monday, he posted a lengthy farewell message to his Instagram account.

None of it would have been possible without the people I worked with along the way. Each of them playing a huge role and leaving an important mark in my career and my life. For them, I cannot express my gratitude enough,” he wrote.

All the lovely memories and dear friends that this path has brought me, soul connections that go beyond the swimming life, make me feel that I won so much more than just some medals and trophies along the way.

To all the friends and fans, I want to thank you for always showing your support and for believing in me no matter the situation. 

The resources are exhausted, and it is time to address and look after my own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, for I am just another human being after all.”