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Giaan Rooney announces retirement

Written by: Staff

SYDNEY, May 5 (Reuters) Australia's Olympic and world swimming champion Giaan Rooney has announced her retirement from competition.

Rooney, 23, said she was hanging up her goggles to begin a new career as a television presenter.

''I don't think you can ever replace the feeling of standing up on a block at an Olympics or world championships,'' she told the Australian Nine Network.

''But for me, I get the same kind of adrenaline feeling of being in front of a camera, that I do when I'm about to race.

''That tells me I'm heading in the right direction and that the next step is the right step.'' Rooney burst onto the international stage when she won the 100 metres backstroke as a 15-year-old at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

She collected two silver medals in relays at the Sydney 2000 Olympics before breaking through to win her first individual world title in the 200 metres freestyle at the 2001 world championships in Fukuoka.

She crowned her sporting career with a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics when she swam the backstroke leg in the Australian women's medley relay team that broke the world record.

Rooney added a second world title with victory in the 50m backstroke at the 2005 world championships in Montreal before signing off with two silvers at this year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Reuters VJ VP0347

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