Tracey Wickham

Tracey Lee Wickham MBE, OAM (born 24 November 1962 in Rosebud, Victoria) is an Australian former middle distance swimmer. Wickham was the World Champion for the 400 m and 800 m freestyle in 1978, and won gold in both events at the 1978 and 1982 Commonwealth Games. She is a former world record holder for the 400 m, 800 m and 1500 m freestyle.[1] Despite her success in the pool, Wickham has battled hardship and personal tragedy throughout her life.[2]

Tracey Wickham
Tracey Wickham
Personal information
Full nameTracey Lee Wickham
Nickname(s)Tiger
National teamAustralia
Born24 November 1962 (age 56)
Height1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Sport
SportSwimming
StrokesFreestyle

Swimming career

Wickham began swimming at the age of eight at John Rigby’s pool in Brisbane and mastered her technique under the guidance of Peter Diamond. At the age of thirteen, she was selected to be on the Australian team for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games but failed to reach the finals at that meet.

In 1977, Wickham’s family moved to California, where she trained for six months with coaching legend Mark Schubert. She returned to Brisbane at the end of 1977 and she came under the guidance of coach Bill Sweetenham at the Commercial Swimming Club. On 8 February 1978, Wickham broke her first world record, the 1500 m freestyle, in a solo swim at the Fortitude Valley Pool in Brisbane, clocking 16:14.93.

At the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Wickham won both the 400 m and 800 m freestyle. That same year, she set world records in both events, and won both the 400 m and 800 m freestyle at the 1978 Berlin World Championships, setting a world 400 m record of 4.06.28, which stood as the Championship record until 2007. Both world records stood until 1987, long after her retirement.

In 1980, Australia decided against an official boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. A number of Australian athletes elected to boycott the Games personally. Wickham maintains that she withdrew from the team because of illness, as she was suffering glandular fever at the time, not because of the boycott.[3] The 800 m freestyle was won by fellow Australian Michelle Ford at that meet.

Wickham retired at the end of 1979 due to financial problems. The policy of amateurism was upheld by the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia during this period, meaning Wickham could neither earn money from the sport nor receive any prizes. Wickham returned to swimming in the early 1980s under coach Laurie Lawrence. She won gold in the 400 m and 800 m freestyle at the 1982 Commonwealth Games, where she took the Athletes Oath at the Opening Ceremony. Her gold medal for the 400 m was presented to her by Queen Elizabeth II and Wickham retired from swimming immediately afterwards. Following the birth of her daughter, Wickham dived back into the water in May 1990, again with Lawrence as her coach. She competed in the 7.6 km open water race from Magnetic Island to Townsville, placing first in the female division.[4] She also won the female division of the Lake Trasimeno 20 km marathon race. She retired for good following the birth of her son in January 1992.

Personal life

She was educated at the All Hallows' School, in Brisbane along with her sisters Julie and Kelly.[5] Wickham married in 1986 and had two children, Daniel and Hannah. She divorced her husband in the mid-1990s.

Her daughter, Hannah, died at the age of nineteen from synovial sarcoma on 2 October 2007.[6] Wickham is an ambassador for Hannah’s Chance Foundation, which supports teenage cancer victims.[7]

Honours and awards

On 30 December 1978, Wickham was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.[8]

On 10 December 1985, she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame,[9] and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale in 1992.[10]

On 25 October 2000, she was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for outstanding contribution as a competitor in swimming.[11]

On 13 June 2005, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to Australian swimming and to the development of young swimmers through teaching and coaching roles.[12]

Swimming achievements

  • 1976 Montreal Olympic Games
    • Team member
  • 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games
    • 400 metres freestyle - gold medal
    • 800 metres freestyle - gold medal
    • 200 metres freestyle - silver medal
    • 4 x 100-metre medley relay (butterfly leg) - silver medal
    • 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay - bronze medal
  • 1978 Berlin World Championships
    • 400 metres freestyle - gold medal
    • 800 metres freestyle - gold medal
  • 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games
    • 400 metres freestyle - gold medal
    • 800 metres freestyle - gold medal
    • 200 metres freestyle - silver medal
  • 1990 Magnetic Island to Townsville Swim
    • First place
  • 1990 Italian Gran Fondo Marathon Lake Swim
    • First place

Book

  • Tracey Wickham's biography Treading Water: My Life In And Out Of The Pool by Peter Meares [2] was published by Random House Australia October 2010.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Tracey Wickham OAM MBE - Swimming". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Treading Water: My Life In And Out Of The Pool".
  3. ^ Miller, Anne (2 May 2016). "Tracey Shares Her Triumphs And Sadness". South Burnett Online.
  4. ^ "Successful solo race crossings 1954–2008". Magnetic Island to Townsville. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  5. ^ Robson, Frank. (7 August 1999). "Cyclone Tracey". The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia. p27.
  6. ^ Smith, Wayne (4 October 2007). "Tracey Wickham's daughter's dying wish". The Australian.
  7. ^ "Hannah's Chance Foundation". Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  8. ^ "Tracey Wickham". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
  9. ^ "Tracey Wickham OAM MBE - Swimming". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  10. ^ "Tracey Wickham". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  11. ^ "Tracey Wickham". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
  12. ^ "Tracey Wickham". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 2007-01-04.

External links

Records
Preceded by
Alice Browne
Women's 1500 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

8 February 1978 – 19 August 1979
Succeeded by
Kim Linehan
Preceded by
Michelle Ford
Women's 800 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

21 February 1978 – 27 July 1987
Succeeded by
Janet Evans
Preceded by
Kim Linehan
Women's 400 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

24 August 1978 – 20 December 1987
Succeeded by
Janet Evans
1978 Commonwealth Games

The 1978 Commonwealth Games were held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from 3 to 12 August 1978, two years after the 1976 Summer Olympics were held in Montreal, Quebec. They were boycotted by Nigeria, in protest of New Zealand's sporting contacts with apartheid-era South Africa, as well as by Uganda, in protest of alleged Canadian hostility towards the government of Idi Amin. The Bid Election was held at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

This was the first Commonwealth Games where a computerised system was used to handle ticket sales.

These were the first Commonwealth Games to be named Commonwealth Games, having dropped British.

1978 World Aquatics Championships

The 1978 World Aquatics Championships took place in the free city of West Berlin between August 20 and August 28, 1978.

Aquatics at the 1982 Commonwealth Games

The Aquatics events at the 1982 Commonwealth Games were held at the new Chandler Aquatic Centre that was part of the Sleeman Sports Complex which had been purpose built for the games.

Australia at the 1982 Commonwealth Games

Australia hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Queensland and their team was abbreviated AUS.

This was Australia's twelfth of 12 Commonwealth Games having participated in all Games meets up to these Games.

Kim Linehan

Kimberly Ann Linehan (born December 11, 1962) is an American former competition swimmer, world champion, and former world record-holder.

At the 1978 World Aquatics Championships in Berlin, Germany, Linehan won bronze medals with third-place finishes in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle events. Linehan won a gold medal by placing first in the 800-meter freestyle at the 1982 World Aquatics Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, she finished fourth in the women's 400-meter freestyle. She set the 400-meter freestyle world record (long course) in 1978, and held the 1,500-meter freestyle world record (long course) from 1979 to 1987.

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" in 1997, and the University of Texas Women's Athletics Hall of Honor in 2008.

List of Commonwealth Games medallists in swimming (women)

This is a list of women's Commonwealth Games medallists in swimming from 1930 to 2014.

Swimming at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Women's 400 metre freestyle

The women's 400 metre freestyle event for the 1976 Summer Olympics was held in Montreal. The event took place on 20 July.

Swimming at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Women's 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay

The women's 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay event for the 1976 Summer Olympics was held in Montreal.

Swimming at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Women's 800 metre freestyle

The final of the women's 800 metre freestyle event for the 1976 Summer Olympics was held on July 25, 1976, in Montreal, after the preliminary heats on July 24, 1976.

Swimming at the 1978 World Aquatics Championships

These are the results (medal winners) of the swimming competition at the 1978 World Aquatics Championships held in the city of West Berlin between August 20 and August 28.

Swimming at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Women's 400 metre freestyle

The women's 400 metre freestyle event at the 1980 Summer Olympics was held on 22 July at the Swimming Pool at the Olimpiysky Sports Complex.

Swimming at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Women's 800 metre freestyle

The women's 800 metre freestyle event at the 1980 Summer Olympics was held on 26 July at the Swimming Pool at the Olimpiysky Sports Complex.

Swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics – Women's 800 metre freestyle

The final of the women's 800 metre freestyle event at the 1984 Summer Olympics was held at the McDonald's Olympic Swim Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on August 3, 1984. The fastest eight qualified for the final.

Swimming at the 2003 World Aquatics Championships – Women's 400 metre freestyle

The Women's 400m Freestyle event at the 10th FINA World Aquatics Championships swam on 20 July 2003 in Barcelona, Spain. Preliminary heats swam during the day's morning session, with the top-8 finishers advancing to swim again in the Final during the evening session.

Prior to the event, the World (WR) and Championship (CR) records were:

WR: 4:03.85 swum by Janet Evans (USA) on September 22, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea

CR: 4:06.28 swum by Tracey Wickham (Australia) on August 24, 1978 in Berlin, Germany

Swimming at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships – Women's 400 metre freestyle

The Women's 400 Freestyle at the 11th FINA World Aquatics Championships was swum on 24 July 2005 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Preliminary heats were swum that morning, with the top-8 finishers advancing to swim the race again in that evenings Final.

As the competition was held in a long course (50m) pool, the race consisted of 8 lengths of freestyle.

At the start of the event, the existing World (WR) and Championships (CR) records were:

WR: 4:03.85, Janet Evans (USA), swum 22 September 1988 in Seoul, South Korea;

CR: 4:06.28, Tracey Wickham (Australia), swum 24 August 1978 in Berlin, Germany.

Swimming at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships – Women's 400 metre freestyle

The women's 400 metre freestyle at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships took place on 25 March (preliminaries and finals) at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

The existing records at the start of the event were:

World record (WR): 4:02.13, Laure Manaudou (France), 6 August 2006 in Budapest, Hungary

Championship record (CR): 4:06.28, Tracey Wickham (Australia), at West Berlin 1978 (24 August 1978)

Swimming at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – Women's 800 metre freestyle

The women's 800 metre freestyle event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games as part of the swimming programme took place on 27 and 28 July at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

The medals were presented by Robert Smith, Baron Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of Glasgow 2014 and the quaichs were presented by Kenn Banks, President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Anguilla.

World record progression 1500 metres freestyle

The first world record in the men's 1500 metres freestyle in a long course (50 metres) swimming pool was recognised by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) in 1908. In short course (25 metres) pools, the world's governing body recognizes world records since March 3, 1991.

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