My mum tells the story of when she first realised I was a strong swimmer. The family was on holiday and I was three years of age, and took myself off to the pool in the complex.
I got up on the diving board, dived in and swam to the other end. To me, it was the most natural thing to do. I liked swimming because I was good at it. It built my self-esteem and everyone wanted me to be a part of their team.
I was doing a lot of other sports, but swimming became a passion. I won my year championship every year through primary school and every year but one in high school.
Eventually, I did get sick of it. I was training 12 times a week and getting up every morning at 4:30 was getting harder and harder. My heart was not into it any more and so I gave it away.
After I left school, I knew I wanted to do something in education and I studied early childhood teaching and then worked in childcare. I then studied child welfare and have worked in that area ever since.
When I gave up swimming, I didn’t get back into a pool until 1993. The real reason I finally got back into swimming was because I had let myself go and I figured I had better things to do other than exercise.
Well, I needed to get fit again and so I climbed back into the pool and started swimming. I was into the Masters Swimming at Coogee-Randwick and they were always very accepting of me being a lesbian.
Then I discovered Wett Ones had been established, and so I transferred over and have been with them ever since.
People are at Wett Ones for a lot of different reasons. Some are there for the social side, some to compete and others just want to get fit. We attempt to cater to everybody and these days have about 100 members.
Seven years ago, I was asked if I wanted to do the coaching course and ever since, I have been a coach. I am now on the side of the pool, helping guide the swimming and I do love watching other people fulfil their potential.
I really got into coaching and at the end of that first year I was awarded National Coach of the Year, which I think had a lot to do with the preparation for the Gay Games.
That was a pretty amazing time and it was my first ever Gay Games. I competed in swimming and won a medal in all of the 13 events I went in, six of them gold medals. It was a great time.
My partner Julie and I always wanted a child, and five years ago we had our daughter Molly.
She is a good swimmer, and her dad is a very good swimmer and is a member of Wett Ones. I don’t teach her myself as I would rather sit on the edge of the pool and watch her enjoy herself.
Molly has been coming to Wett Ones ever since she was born. I used to bring her in the pouch when she was a baby, and now she comes along to give me a hand and tell the boys what to do.
She knows most of them as they have watched her grow ever since she was born.
Time is the difficult thing these days as we are trying to juggle a family as well as working at swimming. My family is my priority these days, but I am at training twice a week and I work on organising the training programs throughout the year.
I still love swimming, but I don’t get up in the middle of the night to watch it on TV like I used to. I still look in the sports pages every day to see what’s going on.
I don’t swim much on my own any more and sometimes my partner will say to me, Go and have a swim, as I can get quite crabby.
After I have been in the water, I am stress-free and feel like a different person. It still does that to me.
Interview by John Burfitt