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Shane Gould

From Openwaterpedia
Shane Gould MBE

Shane Elizabeth Gould, MBE (born 23 November 1956) is an Australian swimmer who won three Olympic gold medals, a silver and bronze in 1972 Munich Olympics, setting a world record in each gold medal performance. It was the greatest performance by an Australian at a single Olympics.

Open Water Swimming

Gould is currently the race organizer for the Devil of a Swim in Tasmania, Australia and a passionate advocate for learning how to swim, especially for those who live near the ocean or on island nations. She participates in various open water swims including the annual Fiji Swims.


Gould moved from Sydney, Australia to Fiji with her family at the age of 18 months where she learned to swim. By the age of six, she was a competent swimmer. She attended St. Peters Lutheran College, Brisbane, where a sporting house is named after her. She was trained by leading coaches Forbes and Ursula Carlile and their assistant Tom Green.

After the 1972 Munich Olympics, at the age of 16, she retired from swimming. She is the only person, male or female, to hold every world freestyle record from 100 m to 1500 m simultaneously, and the first female swimmer ever to win three Olympic gold medals in world record time.

She was awarded Australian of the Year in 1972.

She was one of the bearers of the Olympic Torch at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics in Sydney.

She now divides her time between Launceston, Tasmania and Sydney, and still swims, in masters swimming competitions and open water swimming events.

She has four children from her first marriage, and is married to Milt Nelms.

She authored the book Tumble Turns and won the 2018 Australian edition of Survivor, winning $500,000 as the Sole Survivor.


  • 1971 Best Sportswoman in the World
  • 1971 ABC Sportswoman of the Year
  • 1972 ABC Sportswoman of the Year
  • 1972 Australian of the Year
  • 1981 Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
  • 1994 Olympic Order
  • 1995 Legend of Australian Sport
  • 2000 Australian Sports Medal
  • 2001 Centenary Medal

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