France’s Camille Muffat, a rival to U.S. stars Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky, has abruptly retired due to a dispute with her coach, according to L’Equipe.
“I have taken a big decision to stop swimming,” she said, according to L’Equipe, translated by Agence France-Presse. “[The disagreement with coach Fabrice Pellerin] will stay between us like many other things, good or bad, but I mention that because that was what started things off.”
Muffat won gold in the 2012 Olympic 400m freestyle, silver in the 2012 Olympic 200m free and bronze in the 2013 World Championships 200m free.
She did not rule out a return to the sport, citing the cases of Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe and 2004 French Olympic champion Laure Manaudou, according to AFP.
Muffat’s absence from the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Olympics would boost medal hopes of Franklin and Ledecky.
Muffat was the only woman to win a medal in the 200m free at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships. Franklin is the reigning World champion in the event, while Ledecky has been improving and is the fastest American this year.
Ledecky won the 400m free at the 2013 World Championships, where Muffat was seventh in trying to follow up her Olympic title. Ledecky has been the fastest woman in the event the last two years.
Ledecky’s personal best is 3:59.82, making her the second fastest active woman behind world-record holder Federica Pellegrini. With Muffat’s retirement, the only other woman to go sub-4:02 is Olympic silver medalist Allison Schmitt.