Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ricky Berens of Charlotte said Thursday he was retiring from swimming -- this time for good.
Berens said in a phone interview Thursday from Austin, Texas, that his swimming career had "run its course." He has accepted a full-time paid position with the University of Texas athletic department, where he is working with the Longhorns' fundraising arm and its lettermen's club.
Berens, 25, graduated from Texas and helped it win a national championship during his time there. He had been working as a volunteer swim coach for the Longhorns for the first part of 2013 while still pursuing his own swim career.
"I've put off the real world long enough," Berens said. "It's time to pursue some other passions."
Berens originally retired following the 2012 Olympics after winning his second gold medal in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. In an interview with The Observer minutes after that gold medal, he said he was retiring immediately.
But after a few weeks, he reconsidered and decided to give swimming one more season. He swam in the 2013 UltraSwim meet in Charlotte as usual. And he participated in the world championships in Barcelona this summer, anchoring the U.S. 4x200 freestyle relay to another gold medal.
"That was very scary," Berens said. "I had never anchored before. I held off one of the Russian swimmers to win it in what will turn out to be my last competition. Not a bad way to go out."
Berens said Thursday he wants to work in collegiate sports administration as a career and that his eventual goal is to be an athletic director at a college. He promised this retirement would stick and that he would not return for another comeback.
"If you had told me 10 years ago I would go to even one Olympics, I would have said you're crazy," Berens said. "I got to participate in two and win three Olympic medals (two gold, one silver). Everybody always wants more, but I have no real desire to swim competitively any longer. It's time to get on with life."