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The Bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly. — Corra May While Harris

Biography

  • 2008 World Short Course Championships: Manchester, United Kingdom
    Semi-finalist in 50m freestyle
  • 2007 World University Games: Bangkok, Thailand
    Australian Women’s Team Universiade Captain and Flag bearer. 5th Place finish in 50 freestyle.
  • 2006 Pan Pacific Championships: Victoria, Canada
    6th Place finish, 50 freestyle
  • 2006 World Short Course Championships: Shanghai, China
    Silver Medalist 4 x 100 freestyle relay (heats swimmer), 10th place 50 freestyle
  • 2004 Olympic Games: Athens, Greece
    Finalist in Athens, finishing 6th place.
    Ranked 3rd in the World in 2004.
    Achieved Australian Record for 50 freestyle in the heats of the Olympic Trials.
  • 2003 World University Games: Daegu, South Korea
    Silver Medalist for 50 freestyle.
    Australian Women’s Team Swimming Captain.
  • 2002 World Short Course Championships: Moscow, Russia
    Semi-finalist in 50 freestyle.
  • 2001 World Championships: Fukuoka, Japan
    Semi-finalist in 50 freestyle.
  • 2000 Oceania Championships: Christchurch, New Zealand
    Gold Medalist for 50 freestyle.
    4 x 100 freestyle relay team member

Bio:

Growing up, Michelle Engelsman moved around the world and experienced many different cultures. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she moved with her family back to Australia, and then onto Holland, England, and Pennsylvania. At age 7 her family moved to upstate New York for 5 years, with the second last year spent living between NY and Boston. School years 8-12 were spent studying in beautiful Switzerland, at the America International School of Zürich (now named ZIS). After being accepted at Kenyon College in Ohio, USA, she had two outstanding years in sports and academia. At the beginning of the second year she underwent major back surgery, yet was able to come back against all odds and won NCAA D3 championships in 50 freestyle 5 months later.

In May 1999 she left Kenyon to pursue her dream of making the Sydney Olympic team. She trained with Scott Volkers and Stephan Widmer for 1½ years, whilst continuing her studies at the University of Queensland. She earned a 5th place finish at the 2000 Olympic trials.

The experience lit a fire in her than has yet to be diminished.

She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona, and gained invaluable experience and success in Collegiate swimming at the D1 level in the USA. However she again met with adversity and endured major wrist surgery immediately following World Championships 2001. To further her education she enrolled in an Honours degree  in Chemistry at the University of Sydney, and trained under Brian Sutton and Steve Alderman. After completing her Honours, she was invited to  train alongside Gary Hall Jr. at the Race Club for the months leading into Australian Olympic Trials 2004. Working with Jon Olsen and Andy Deichart created a specialized training environment that enabled her to step up and qualify for the 2004 Olympic team. The time she posted at those trials held her at a ranking of 3rd in the world for 2004. At the Athens Olympics she achieved a 6th place finish in the final of her event, 50 freestyle.

Since 2004, Michelle has competed at World Short Course Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, and numerous World Cup competitions. She coached herself and designed her own swimming program during her final years of swimming. During that time she continued to seek advice from strength coach Paul Haslam at City Gym (East Sydney).

Michelle retired from professional swimming in April 2008. She was honoured for her ‘Services to Swimming in Australia’ at the 2008 Swimmer of the Year awards. She completed her Masters in International Studies in October 2008, her Diploma in Fund Raising in 2010, and is enjoying working for and volunteering at non-profit organisations.

Michelle has partnered with various humanitarian and social justice organisations through her post-swimming working life. She has both worked on and lead political campaigns (Green Party, Greenpeace, Amnesty International), and directly supported Indigenous young people at the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA).

Most recently, in 2013, Michelle has been one of 48 successful candidates (from some 7000) to secure a position as Recruit Firefighter at Fire and Rescue NSW. She strongly feels this is a great opportunity to marry up her diverse range of skills, and work within closely knit teams.