About Melanie

Melanie Renee Wright OAM (formerly Melanie Schlanger, born 31 August 1986) is an Australian freestyle swimmer training at the Southport Olympic Swimming Club on the Gold Coast in Queensland under head coach Glenn Baker.

Making her first Australian team in 2006, Melanie won three bronze medals at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships in Canada in the 100m freestyle, the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle. She was a member of the Australian 4×100m freestyle relay team that won gold at the 2007 World Championships. Later that year, Melanie was a member of the Australian World Record breaking 4x100m short course freestyle relay.

At the 2008 Australian Swimming Championships she qualified as a member of the 4×100m and 4×200m freestyle relay teams by coming third and fifth in the respective individual events. Melanie swam the third leg in both the heats and the final of the 4×100m freestyle relay as Australia claimed the bronze in the final. She also swam in the heats of the 4x200m freestyle relay and collected a gold when the finals quartet won the final in a world record time.

However, Melanie's incredible successes were at a price, when the following year she developed a glandular fever-like illness called 'Cytomegalovirus'. It was unrelenting and exhausting, forcing Melanie out of the 2009 Australian Trials and, eventually, out of the pool entirely. Melanie's announcement of early retirement was an incredible disappointment for the Australian swimming world, and one of the most difficult decisions of Melanie's life.

Melanie soon realised she still held a flame for the sport, after a stint of social swimming with a friend. With her health regained, ten months into her retirement, Melanie made another life-changing decision to return to the pool. A fresh start at the Southport Olympic Swimming Club with world renowned coach Glenn Baker reignited her passion for the sport, and the results showed. By the end of the 2011 swimming season, Melanie had returned to an internationally competitive standard, finishing in the top ten fastest freestyle swimmers in the world.

With so many swimmers making their largely acclaimed come-backs, Melanie quietly maintained her focus and her remarkable resolve paid off at the London 2012 Olympic Games. As part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team, Melanie won Australia's first Gold medal of the Games. She then went on to win two Silver medals in the 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, as well as placing fourth in the individual 100m Freestyle.

In 2013, Melanie’s career was once again derailed when she sustained a stress fracture in one of her ribs only a few weeks before the World Championship Trials. Bravely, Melanie swam through the pain at the trials to qualify for the world championship team. With the injury failing to improve with enough time for her to prepare for the worlds, Melanie made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Australian Dolphins team.

After a long rehabilitation, Melanie managed to return to form in early 2014, only to have a recurrence of the same injury shortly before the trials once again. This time however, she was able to recover in time to race without pain and qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the 50m freestyle and 4x100 freestyle. Melanie went on to finish 5th in the 50m in a time that would have won bronze at the world championships the year before. Melanie also swam as a part of the 4x100 freestyle relay, winning gold in a world record time. Melanie and her teammates wiped the previous standard, which was set in 2009 in the era of the super suits.


Interesting Facts

Nicknames:

Mel, Melly, Schlangs, Schlang-dawg

Family:

Husband - Chris Wright (fellow Australian Swimmer)
Father - Paul; Mother - Linda; Sister - Nikki; Brother - Adam;

Education:

Bachelor of Biomedical Science, University of QLD, 2009.
Master of Business Administration (MBA), Bond University, 2015.
Doctor of Medicine, Bond University, 2016-2020.

Childhood Ambition:

To become a Doctor and to compete at an Olympic Games in High Jump.

Favourite Food:

Chicken Schnitzel and Chocolate (but not together!)

Favourite Band:

Ben Folds

Best Sports Team:

Brisbane Lions, Australian Cricket Team, Australian Olympic Team

Star Sign:

Virgo

Tattooes:

The Olympic rings on my ankle and an astrology symbol on my wrist

Favourite Things to Do:

Hang out with my husband Chris, go out to breakfast, play with my two dogs Kalani and Meeko, go to the beach and visit my family.

Inspiration:

The excitement of seeing how fast I can be drives me each and every day to push the boundaries.

Quote:

"There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going"

Other Sports Played:

Athletics, Tennis, Water Polo, Gymnastics and Dancing. I was always an active kid and involved in many sports.

Hobbies:

Keeping up-to-date with medical technologies and creating websites

Proudest Moment:

Representing Australia is an incredible feeling. Making the Worlds team in 2007 after a less than ideal preparation, was a huge personal achievement. Swimming for gold at the Worlds in Melbourne was an amazing experience and something I will remember as my first major international success.
Also, Being accepted into Medical School at Bond University.

Something Quirky:

I started swimming for a couple of weeks when I was 13 but didn't like it so after one competition I quit. In grade 5, I even forged a note from my mum to get out of swimming lessons at school (I got in big trouble too!).