The Sydney Olympics in 2000 were the trigger for several high profile Australian sports people to hang up their shoes, togs or uniforms for the last time.

Former Brisbane girl Elizabeth Brett represented Australia as a member of the national women’s volleyball team.

Seven years later, Brett is back training with another team. A casual comment by older brother Nathan, who trains with Brisbane’s Aqualicious gay and lesbian swimming squad, that he was competing in the Melbourne Outgames, began a pathway to participation in a sport she has never tried before – swimming.

“I missed out on competing in the Gay Games in Chicago in 2006, and Nathan urged me to join in this amazing sports event; not to mention a fabulous party,” Brett said.

“The 1st Asia Pacific Outgames in Melbourne is an opportunity that I just can’t miss.”

Aqualicious coach Lawrie Fabian has provided Elizabeth with a dedicated program, just like the one that has taken the club from strength to strength.

“He promised me this was a ‘strictly beginners’ program – you know, a light way to ease into swimming? Well, he lied,” Brett said.

“My body was in so much agony for the first two weeks that I could barely sit down, and my arms were jelly. So much so that I couldn’t even pick up the phone to abuse Lawrie for the pain I was in.”

Three weeks later, evening swimming sessions at Vic Park Pool have become enjoyable.

“I never thought swimming would be so relaxing, but under the water, with just your thoughts, it’s actually akin to meditation,” Brett said.

Excited by the prospect of competing alongside her brother Nathan and the Aqualicious Team, Elizabeth is making the most of the opportunity to participate and socialise with her peers in a safe, friendly environment.

info: The 1st Asia Pacific Outgames are being held in Melbourne from 30 January to 3 February 2008. Registration and information at www.melbourneoutgames.org or via links on the Team Sydney website: www.teamsydney.org

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