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Liesel Jones OAM

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Leisel Jones, OAM is regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever female swimmers, winning seven World Championships titles, nine Olympic medals, 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals, 14 individual world records and 23 National titles.

Born in Katherine in 1985, as a ten year-old school girl, she watched Samantha Riley win the bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

While at Southern Cross Catholic College, Jones trained at the Redcliffe Leagues Swimming Club and was coached by Ken Wood. Her training partners included fellow Australian team members, Geoff Huegill and Jessicah Schipper. The club was based at the Redcliffe War Memorial Pool and operated on an entirely volunteer basis, with the major sponsor Redcliffe Leagues Club.

2000 Olympics

Jones was selected for the Australian team at just 14 years of age, qualifying in the 100-metre breaststroke by winning the event at the Australian Championships in May 2000 in Sydney, ending the international career of former world champion Samantha Riley.

Jones swam a personal best in the final at the Sydney Olympics to claim an unexpected silver medal behind American Megan Quann. She also combined with Dyana Calub, Petria Thomas and Susie O'Neill in the 4×100-metre medley relay to win silver, again behind the Americans. Jones left school aged 15 to concentrate on swimming.

At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Jones was now one of the established swimmers and expected to win medals. She finished second to China's Luo Xuejuan. The competition also marked her international debut in the 200-metre breaststroke, where she came fourth place (2:25.46). She also collected a gold in the medley relay alongside Calub, Thomas and Sarah Ryan, the first time that the US women had been beaten at world or Olympic level in this event, excluding the systemically doped East German and Chinese teams.

In 2002, Jones claimed her first titles on the international arena, claiming the breaststroke double at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. Australia also won the medley relay.

In 2003, Jones set an Australian record in the 200-metre individual medley earlier in the year, in an experimental event. Later at the 2003 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain, she started setting a world record in the semifinals of the 100-metre breaststroke (1:06.37). However, she succumbed to nerves in the final and came third, with Luo again winning the event. She also achieved a silver in the 200-metre breaststroke in Barcelona, behind Amanda Beard in (2:24.33). She collected a bronze in the medley relay.

In the month leading up to the Athens Olympics, Jones set a world record (2:22.96) in the 200-metre breaststroke in a meet in Brisbane, Australia. This led to high expectations of an even better performance in Athens, as Jones had not been rested prior to swimming the world record. However, it was reclaimed by Beard at the US Olympic trials only a few days later.

2004 Olympics

In Athens, Jones was again the quickest qualifier of the 100-metre breaststroke, after setting an Olympic record (1:06.78) in the semifinals, which was almost two seconds clear of the then second fastest swimmer in the event's history, Amanda Beard. However, in the final race she finished in the bronze position. In the 200-metre breaststroke, she attempted to take an attacking approach, but faded in the last 50 metres and was pipped to the wall by Amanda Beard, winning silver. Australia went on to win the 4×100-metre medley relay, giving Jones her first Olympic gold.

Jones' world record in the 100-metre breaststroke was broken at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Canada by Jessica Hardy of the United States in 1:06.20, again in the semifinal. However, this time the expectations turned to Hardy and Jones turned the tables and beat her to the wall, breaking through for her first win at world or Olympic level. She also broke the world record for the 200-metre breaststroke (2:21.72), on 29 July 2005. In the process she won the gold medal, leaving her rivals more than six metres behind. For her efforts she was named by Swimming World magazine as the Female World Swimmer of the Year in 2005.

The changes which occurred in 2005 continued to pay off at the Australian Commonwealth Games Swimming Trials in early 2006 where Jones broke her personal best time in the 50-metre breaststroke (30.85) and took 1.18 seconds off her previous world record in the 200-metre breaststroke (2.20:54). On Day 5 of the Australian Nationals Jones swam a world record in the 100-metre breaststroke final. Jones won the Australian championship in a time of 1:05.71 which lowered the previous mark by 0.49 of a second.

Jones completed a clean sweep of the breaststroke events (50-, 100- and 200-metre) at the 2006 Commonwealth Games—the only time this has been achieved in the breaststroke events in the games' history. In the butterfly events (50-, 100- and 200-metre) at the 2002 Manchester Games, Petria Thomas was the first swimmer in Commonwealth Games history to complete a clean sweep. The 50-metre events were introduced at the Manchester Games. In the 50-metre breaststroke, an event she had only recently begun competing in, she defeated the reigning world champion and world record-holder Jade Edmistone. She later won another gold in the 200-metre breaststroke and completed the sweep with the gold medal in the 100-metre in a world record time of 1:05.09 – an effort that saw her own world record reduced 0.62 of a second and was declared "Beamonesque" by aquatics journalist Craig Lord, a reference to Bob Beamon's legendary long jump at the Mexico City Olympics. A fourth gold medal in world record time in the 4×100-metre medley relay with Sophie Edington, Jessicah Schipper and Libby Lenton rounded off her Commonwealth Games.

In 2007, she competed in the World Championships and won the 100-metre breaststroke, 200-metre breaststroke, and 4×100-metre medley relay, setting a world record in the relay. She also won silver in the 50-metre breaststroke. She then left Brisbane and Widmer to move to Melbourne to train under Rohan Taylor, so that she could live with her fiancé Marty Pask, an Australian rules footballer with the Western Bulldogs. Her dissolution of a successful partnership raised eyebrows and many questioned whether putting her personal life ahead of a proven competitive formula would backfire in the pool.

In early 2008, she won the breaststroke double at the 2008 Australian Swimming Championships to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Although missing the World Short Course Championships in Manchester due to the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics she broke her own world record over 100-metre breaststroke (SC) in 1:03.72 at the Telstra Grand Prix in Canberra.

2008 Olympics

Jones won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 100-metre breaststroke, touching the line a full body length ahead of her rival. Her time of 1:05.17 was 1.66 seconds faster than the American silver medalist Rebecca Soni. While she was the favorite to win in the 200-metre breaststroke, she was beaten by Soni, who won gold in world record time. Jones took the silver.

She also won a gold medal in the 4×100-metre medley relay, with the Australian team breaking the previous world record by three seconds.

Jones was awarded the Telstra Swimmer Of The Year award as part of the year's international all-star team, in Sydney in October 2008.

At the World Cup meeting at Berlin, Germany, Jones set world records in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke (short course). Jones had a low-key year and opted out of the 2009 World Championships.

In 2009, Jones became the new face of the World Animal Protection Australia & New Zealand anti-whaling campaign.

2012 Olympics

Jones confirmed that she was aiming for the 2012 Olympics in London and competed at the Pan Pacific Championships and the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Jones confirmed her place on these teams by winning the 50-, 100- and 200-metre breaststroke at the 2010 Telstra Australian Swimming Championships.

At the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Irvine, California, in 2010 Jones collected three silver medals and a bronze. She competed in the 50-metre breaststroke (bronze) 100-metre breaststroke (silver), 200-metre breaststroke (silver), and the 4×100-metre medley relay (silver) events. In all four of events, she was behind the Americans; in the 50-metre she was behind Jessica Hardy and fellow Australian Leiston Pickett, and in the 100- and 200-metre she finished behind Rebecca Soni.

After earning selection to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, Jones became the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympic games. Together with Emily Seebohm, Alicia Coutts and Melanie Schlanger, she won a silver medal for Australia in the 4×100-metre medley relay.


Jones confirmed her retirement from swimming on 16 November 2012 and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2015 as an Athlete Member for her contribution to the sport of swimming.

In 2015, Jones published an autobiography titled Body Lengths.

In 2015, Jones appeared in the Australian version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (Australian TV series). She was, however, voted off the show in the first week.

In January 2016, Jones graduated from the Nutrition Coach course at the Australian Institute of Fitness. She believes she is "so much more informed now" than when she was swimming in terms of good nutrition.

In 2017, Leisel was Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

In May 2023 Leisel Jones Drive in Moreton Bay was named in her honour. The location is just 800m down the road from Southern Cross Catholic College where Leisel Jones went to school.

Honours & Achievements

  • 9 Olympic Medals: 3 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)

  • 11 Commonwealth Games Medals: 10 Gold, 1 Silver (2002, 2006, 2010)

  • 7 World Championship Titles

  • 12 Individual World Records

  • 23 National Titles (2000 - 2012)

  • Awarded Keys to the City of Redcliffe

  • 2004: Order of Australia medal for service to sport

  • 2005: Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

  • 2005: World Female Swimmer of the Year

  • 2005, 2006: Australian Female Athlete of the Year

  • 2006: People’s Choice Award Winner

  • 2006: Young Queenslander of the Year

  • 2006: Flag Bearer at the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony

  • 2008: Telstra Swimmer of the Year

  • 2015: Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

  • 2017: Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Leisel Jones official website is at:


Leisel Jones OAM is listed on the wall of the Redcliffe Wall of Fame:

A collection of portrait and information honouring the achievements of individuals who have influenced and shaped Redcliffe. The collection is in the Jetty Arcade at 139-141 Redcliffe Parade.

For a complete list of people who appear on the wall click on the following blog post:


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