HEREFORD'S Sascha Kindred has decided to retire from Paralympic swimming after two decades at the top of the sport.

Kindred – who won seven gold medals at six Paralympic Games and was made a CBE in the New Year's Honours list – has cited that the physical and mental demands is the reason why he is calling it a day.

"From learning to swim at 11 and making my major championship debut at 16 at the inaugural World Championships in Malta, I never dreamt of being an international swimmer for over two decades," Kindred told

"Since swimming in Rio last September I had been very much focused on continuing in the sport that has given me so much, but over the last couple of months I have come to the realisation that the physical and mental demands to be an elite athlete are now becoming too much.

"Knowing when to stop a career is a very hard decision to make especially when it’s part of your life, but stopping with Paralympic Gold and a world record in the 200 individual medley is very pleasing.

"I would like to wish the current crop and future swimmers on the Para Swim team the best of luck and to enjoy every minute in the pool.

"I am now looking forward to the next chapter and enjoying time in the water with my daughter."

National Performance Director Chris Furber said Kindred's contribution over the past 20 years has been 'phenomenal'.

recognises Sascha’s dedication and positive impact he has had on the team throughout his career.

"To even compete in six Paralympics is astounding but Sascha topped this by winning seven Paralympic Gold medals," said Furber.

"He has been a fabulous ambassador for British Swimming and ParalympicsGB and we are all sad that he has decided to hang up his trunks.

"Personally, it’s been my privilege to work with Sascha over the last four years and I’d like to thank him for the knowledge he has shared with me over that time"

Multiple Paralympic Champion Ellie Simmonds has also paid tribute to Kindred.

"Sascha has always been a legend," she said.

"He has been a great athlete and I have always looked up to him.

"We’re in the same classification so we have always been in the call up room around the same time and when he won the 200m IM in Rio it really motivated me ahead of my race.

"He will be really missed on our team but I wish him and his family the best for the future.

"I really want to thank him for all he’s done for our sport."

Three-time Paralympic Champion Ollie Hynd added: "I really want to say thank you to Sascha for being such a massive role model and inspiring figure for myself and all the para swimmers.

"He has always been professional and humble even with all of his success.

"What Sascha has achieved in the sport and the longevity he’s had is inspiring and he is and always will be a massive hero to everyone on the team."