Life after sport: swimming through transitions

Rachel A Harris
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00073
Published online: 2 April 2018

A reflection on my journey from elite swimming to sport and exercise medicine

My life as an athlete was a glorious one. Somehow, one of my innate talents saw me training and dedicating my life to swimming. It’s a world of hard work, but the environment is a great one: friends with whom you spend hours training and travelling, with shared goals; meeting similar people from around the world; finding out how you can perform at your peak with a multidisciplinary team behind you; and competing at Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cups and Commonwealth Games. The highs were high, and the lows were low. For me, winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal and swimming at the Sydney Olympics were a highlight, missing out on the World Championships in my hometown of Perth felt like devastation.

  • Canberra Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Canberra, ACT



I thank Larissa Trease and Richard Renton for their assistance in editing this article, and Richard Charlesworth, AO; Daniel Kowalski, OAM; Alana Nicholls and Jesse Phillips for their expert advice and comments on this article.

Competing interests:

I am a current board member of the Western Australian Institute of Sport and registrar representative at the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physician’s board.


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