GOLDEN boy Sascha Kindred wanted to bow out at the World Championship after making his glittering Paralympic career there 23 years ago.

But it will be his infamous swim at Rio where he broke the world record to claim a seventh Paralympics gold medal that would prove to be his swan song.

The 39-year-old announced this week that he would be retiring from swimming after realising the physical and mental strain was becoming too much.

"For the last couple of months, swimming has taken its toll on my body and, for to replicate what I did at Rio would have been near impossible," said Kindred.

"I've had discussions with Nyree and I knew the time was right.

"I have been back training for two-and-a-half months, but my mind has not been in it.

"But I've had a great 20 plus years and I'm definitely going out on the top.

"I've loved swimming and I wanted to continue.

"I started out at the World Championships in 1994 and it was my aim to do another one.

"But my body was taking its toll during the last two months.

"I've had a few injuries that have been niggling me and I wouldn't have wanted to go there just to make up the numbers.

"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."

Kindred says his immediate focus is to spend more time with his wife Nyree and daughter Ella.

But he wouldn't rule out staying involved in the sport.

"If the opportunity arises that means I can inspire the next generation, then I will be happy to do that, but at the moment I just want more with with Nyree and Ella," said Kindred.

"I enjoy Ella's swimming lessons and encouraging her, but it will be different to being a spectator rather than swimming myself."

Kindred – who received a CBE in the New Year's Honours' list and is the only person to be granted the Freedom of Herefordshire – thanked the public for the support they have given him.

"I've had a lot of support from people in Herefordshire, including Halo Leisure," he said.

"When I first got into the team, it was a massive privilege and when I did my first World Championships and got a bronze, I thought 'wow'.

"For the next 20 years, it's been a dream and I am very proud that my achievements have been recognised locally."

Chris Furber, national performance director at British Swimming, said that Kindred's contribution over the past 20 years has been 'phenomenal'.

"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."