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Dr Rachel Harris


My Dad was a pool attendant at Claremont UniSwim at the University of WA. My brother was having swimming lessons and I wanted to learn too. I started when I was about 3½ and didn’t stop.

The Olympics was always my goal. I personally knew people that made the 1996 Olympics so I knew it was an achievable goal.

In 1998, when I was 18, I competed at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It was exciting being in a completely different environment. There were seven or eight of us staying in one apartment and we really bonded together.

My family was there, my coach was there. I kind of thought I would do well but to actually win a gold medal in the 800m was a bit of a surprise.

Standing on the dais as our national anthem was sung was a special moment. I was wearing a tracksuit and it was so humid. My grandmother thought I was crying but I was just sweating as it was so hot!

The Australian swimming team was an incredible force at that time; it was a real heyday for Australian swimming and I was excited to be part of that.

The following year I won silver in the 800m at the World Short Course Championships in Hong Kong.

Everyone dreams of competing in an Olympics in their home country and in 2000 Sydney put on a great performance.

The stands were packed with lots of schoolkids and I got a rousing reception. I will never be a rock star but for a moment I knew what it felt like to be one.

I finished in 12th position in the 800m freestyle and 12th in the 400m individual medley. I swam my best times in those events and was really proud of what I did.

I retired from swimming in 2001.

In 2008 I graduated as a doctor and worked in hospitals. I am hoping to get into sports medicine.

I advise anyone with dreams and goals to never give up, but keep a sense of perspective. If things don’t happen the way you imagine, whether it is doing your TEE or a sport, it is not the be all and end all. There are always other opportunities out there.

On MLC: We were always encouraged to strive for the highest. I loved the camaraderie at swimming events at Beatty Park.




28 October 2022