Ep.023 Athlete Story Podcast

Breaking up with your sport and staying friends - Athlete Story ft UK Swimmer Rachel Boardman

For many athletes, their first love is the sport they choose to pursue. So, when it’s time to retire, there’s a lot of complex emotions to process.

Today’s guest is Rachel Boardman, an ex-swimmer whose health stopped her from achieving her dream of becoming an Olympian. She describes feeling as if her body betrayed her, likening the emotions to that of a relationship break-up. 

Rachel decided to channel this energy into creating her podcast, Beyond The Finish Line, which focuses on what athlete’s do after their sporting career comes to an end.

In this episode, Rachel talks about her physical difficulty in trying to become a professional swimmer. She also touches on the mental struggle of not knowing what to do with her life after sport, which led her on an illuminating journey halfway across the world.

Rachel Boardman 

Former Swimmer 

and host of

Beyond The

Finish Line


«​When you’re travelling and you’re meeting all these people from across the world. You have the same introduction conversation every time. One of the things that I noticed was, I would tell people almost immediately I used to be a swimmer. I wasn’t telling them I had a PhD. I would much rather talk about all the stories I had from my time swimming. It just clicked that I’ve been hiding this part of myself since my health stopped me from pursuing swimming. I shouldn’t be hiding it. I should embrace it and doing something with it.»

READ the transcript of full interview by clicking here.


Rachel Boardman - beyond the finish line podcast

I think one of the reasons why I pursued the PhD was, I didn't know what to do. I thought, "An extra few years, it gives me enough time to figure out what I want to do." Within about six months of starting the PhD, I had spiralled down into one of the darkest places that I've ever been. I ended up having these mental issues, I was diagnosed with depression. A part of that was to do with all the issues that I hadn't worked out from leaving swimming and part of it was because PhD wasn't for me.”  

Rachel Boardman

About our guest

Rachel Boardman is a former national level swimmer who founded the Beyond The Finish Line Podcast after a searching for her purpose completing a phd and a soul searching journey to Australia. This podcast is all about lifting the lid on the struggles and challenges that athletes face once they leave their sport. Finding out how they coped with the loss of the athlete identity while carving out their own space and giving back to the sport they love.

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