Former Olympic Swimmer Helen Smart Dies Suddenly At Just 43

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Former Olympic swimmer Helen Smart, known by her maiden name of Don-Duncan during her competitive days, has died at the age of 43. Smart represented Great Britain during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She was a school principal at the time of her passing.

There is no cause of death known at this time, but according to the New York Post, Smart’s loved ones have described her passing as “sudden.”

Smart retired in the early 2000s and became the principal at Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School in Wigan, England, a town in Greater Manchester.

25 Aug 2000: Helen Don-Duncan, later known as Helen Smart, has passed away at 43. Jamie McDonald /Allsport

The school announced Smart’s passing on its Facebook page where her husband, Craig Smart, explained how much she loved working at Worsley Mesnes.

“She loved the school, staff, children and parents so much,” Craig Smart wrote. “She was so proud to reach her goal of being Head Teacher. She used to say to me all the time she could never see herself at another school. She was Worsley Mesnes through and through! I remember only last week she said her goal was to get the school to outstanding and that she had the right staff to achieve this!”

“I hope you all keep learning like champions. Please learn from this and live your best life, no regrets, take lots of photos, make memories and keep smiling just like Helen always did!”

Smart burst onto the swimming scene in the late ’90s when she became the British backstroke champion before competing in the 50-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke in Sydney at 19 years old.

Beyond competing in the Olympics, Smart also earned a silver medal in the 200-meter backstroke in the 1999 World Championships in China.

Written by Mark Harris


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