- Category: Swimming
How did you become involved in swimming?
When I was younger I was a chronic asthmatic so my mum got me involved in swimming to strengthen my lungs.
Who is your sporting hero?
Age you started in your sport?
I learnt to swim when I was 3, started squad when I was 9, and started to take it seriously when I was 15.
Height, weight, age?
Height - 180cm
Weight - 67kg
Age - 25
Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) with Distinction
What motivates you to continue in your sport?
The dream of Olympic Gold
What motivated you to start your sport?
I really just started swimming because I enjoyed it. I love the water, especially the beach - so open water swimming was a fantastic sport for me.
Who do you race for club/state?
- Redcliffe Leagues Swimming Club
- Kurrawa Surf Lifesaving Club
- Queensland Academy of Sport
- Australian Swimming Team
People that have inspired you both in sport and life?
In Sport -
--> My coach Ken Wood - he has been involved in Swimming for most of his life, and has had a swimmer on every Australian Swim Team since 1976. His knowledge of swimming and what it takes to be a champion is invaluable.
--> Susie O'Neill - I always admired Susie growing up
In Life -
--> My mum - Kerrie - she has really made me the person I am today. She taught me to believe in myself, and that the possibilities were endless. She has such a big heart, and by opening our home to numerous foster children, she has shown me how much of a difference you can make to peoples lives just by giving love and support.
Great experiences that have happened in your life?
Through my swimming I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, meeting some amazing people and making life long friends. I've had the opportunity to swim around the smaller islands of fiji, race in san francisco bay, visit the colosseum, and swim in the centre of hyde park just to name a few.
I have the most amazing group of friends and I really treasure the support they give me in my Olympic Dreams.
Your interests and hobbies?
Going to the beach
One tip or quote that continues to inspire you?
"Anyone can stand tall on the high points, it's those who survive the valley's between who emerge as champions" - It helps me get through the tough times, when my body is aching from training and I feel like I physically can't do anymore.
Family Background(where did you grow up) and Current Family
I was born in Sydney but moved to Brisbane when I was 3 years old.
I live with my mum Kerrie, my brother Tim, and my 7 Foster Brothers and sisters - Josh, Matt, Slade, Anthony, Kiara, Caleb and Matt.
What is your happiest memory?
Sporting wise it would be winning the World Championship in Rome in 2009 and out sprinting the defending champion who had been undefeated in the event for 5 years running. It was such an incredible feeling.
Who did you idolize growing up?
Were you always one of the better athletes growing up?
Growing up, I wasn't really one of the best athletes. I would win the occasional medal at inter club swimming meets, but when it came to regional or state titles I only just made the qualifying times. It wasn't until I was 15 that I really started to excel in my swimming. I won my first state medal when I was 16 in the 400 Fs and went on to win a national medal, also in the 400 Fs later that year.
What is one thing you would share with the children wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Never give up. If you love swimming, stick with it. Work on your technique and continue to put in 100% at every training session. If you want something badly enough, I believe you can get it. It's just about finding what works for you.
How has being involved/playing your sport changed your life?
I couldn't imagine my life without swimming. I have had the opportunity to travel the world, and make lifelong friends with swimmers from numerous different countries. It is incredible how many aspects of sport transfer into other areas of your life aswell - I have awesome time management skills, and the ability to work in a team - all influenced by my involvement in sport.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
Definitely my mum - She drove me to training every morning until I was old enough to drive, and has travelled the world to watch me compete. She means so much to me, and I couldn't have done it without her.
Who has been your best coach?
My current coach - Ken Wood. He knows me perfectly - and can tell how I am feeling just from a simple look on my face. He knows just how much to push me in the pool, to get the most out of myself, before it will tip my body over the edge.
Open Water Swimming
Favourite Foods/Diet you follow?
I love Roast Lamb.
Or Ribs and chips.
I actually love a lot of foods... But I try to follow a fairly healthy diet to make sure I get all the energy I need to get me through a typical training week and my 10km Open Water Swims.
Your typical training split and favourite thing to train?
I train 10 swim sessions a week - each lasting for about 2 to 2.5hours. Typically averaging around 60 - 65km a week in the pool. On top of this I do 3 x 1.5 hour weight sessions a week and try to ride the spin bike or go for a run at least once every second day.
Worst injury you have suffered?
I have been fortunate enough not to have had any major injuries (touch wood). I have had a few shoulder issues, and sprained ankles but that has been the worst of it.
What is the ultimate prize in your sport?
What do you find to be the toughest aspect of your sport?
Open Water swimming is tough in general. If there is one thing I have learnt from my involvement in this sport it is to expect the unexpected. We have to swim in water ranging from 14 degrees to 30 degrees, and from my experience, swimming at both the lower and higher extremes of that temperature range can be horrible. You really do have to develop the mental strength to be able to deal with anything that is thrown your way. When I first started open water swimming I found it really difficult to swim as part of a pack, with arms and elbows going everywhere, often hitting me in the face or the back of the head. But I think with experience, I have developed a certain sense of calm, and I try not to let anything bother me while I am racing.
Your future goals in your sports, and goals when you finish your sport?
To win Olympic Gold
How do you deal with temptation?
I believe in everything in moderation. If I really really want something, I will have it, but I will only have a little bit. But I find the easiest way to avoid temptation is to remove the things that are tempting you.
What is your favourite music/band/song?
I really like a variety of music so I listen to pretty much anything. My favourite song changes week by week and mood by mood, so you'll probably get a different answer every time you ask.
Do you believe "never giving up" is the difference between making it and not making it in any sport?
Definitely. You are always going to have set-backs and little things that get in your way, but I believe if you have the determination to get through the tough times without giving up, it will go a long way in helping you to succeed in sport.
Have you ever failed at anything? If yes how did you overcome this?
Yes. I failed to make the Olympic Team for the 800Fs in 2008 by 0.1 seconds. I was absolutely devastated, and cried for hours that night. But I had 2 options, I could dwell on my mistakes and think about how unlucky I was or I could focus on the positives and the fact that I had a second chance at making the team for the 10km Open Water. This was my first ever international race for Open Water Swimming, and I had a lot riding on it. So I got straight back in the pool the next day and did everything I possibly could to make sure I didn't feel that devastation again. I trained harder than I had ever trained before and I went into the World Championships knowing I had done everything I could, so at least if I didn't make the team, I wouldn't have any regrets. But fortunately for me - I qualified for the Olympic Games - and it was the start of what has been an incredible Open Water Swimming journey for me
What inspired you to succeed?
The hope of Olympic Gold.
What is your favourite movie?
What one lesson did you take from your parents?
To never underestimate how much of an impact you can have on someone else's life. Even just a smile can go a long way.
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
People you would like to thank?
My coach - Ken Wood,
All my friends, supporters, and training partners.
My sponsor - Aquadiva swimwear for providing me with beautiful training togs.
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