Tracey Lee Wickham
</small> (born November 24, 1962 in Rosebud
) is an Australian
former middle distance world champion swimmer
. Despite her success in the pool, Wickham has battled financial hardship and personal tragedy throughout her life.
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
, 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 elected not to officially boycott
the 1980 Summer Olympics
. However... Read More