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2016 Rio Qualifying Championships.jpg

Bio


Monique Murphy

 

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Bio


Monique Murphy

 

 

Monique grew up a passionate swimmer in Canberra as a member of Tuggeranong Vikings Swim Club. With the aim of qualifying for the Australian Age Championships, Monique's pet event was the 100m Butterfly. After narrowly missing out on qualifying 3 years in a row, Monique hung up her swimmers after 11 years with Vikings. 

Monique moved to Melbourne in 2013 after being accepted into RMIT's Associate Degree of Design: Furniture. In 2014 Monique changed courses into a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours.

On 29th March 2014, Monique fell approximately 20 metres from a 5th floor balcony from a suspected spiked drink. She woke from an induced coma one week later in the Royal Melbourne Hospital to discover her right foot had been amputated. She then had to decide whether to undergo a further amputation of the leg to improve mobility. Monique's injures included:

·       jaw broken in two places

·       deep laceration to the neck

·       broken left collar bone

·       severed 30% of tricep tendon in right arm

·       3 broken ribs and punctured lung

·       left knee reconstruction

·       right tibia platue repair

·       amputation of the right foot

With her family by her side, Monique spent the next 6 weeks in hospital undergoing a total of 8 operations, the final one reflecting her decision to have a further amputation on her right leg to just below the knee. This difficult decision was made because, Monique's mobility would be dramatically improved with a below knee prosthetic as opposed to a partial foot prosthetic. 

Exactly one month after the final amputation, Monique was not only standing and taking her first steps with her first prosthetics, but was back in the water commencing hydrotheraphy. Hydrotherapy became the highlight of Monique's day while she was at the Royal Park Rehabilitation Centre. After 6 weeks in hospital and 7 in rehab, Monique was discharged and she continued to build her skills in the water, joining Melbourne Vicentre Swim Club just 5 months after her fall. 

Monique taking her first steps on her first prosthetic leg in May 2014

Monique taking her first steps on her first prosthetic leg in May 2014

While training at Vicentre, Monique met aspiring paralympian, and congenital arm amputee Ashleigh McConnell. Exactly one year after her accident, with her family cheering in the stands, Monique was announced as a member of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team, heading to the IPC World Championships to be held in Glasgow. The Royal Park Prosthetics department developed Monique a prosthetic fin to use in training. This idea sparked from a meeting with Mike Rolls, a volunteer with the Limbs for Life Foundation. Monique met Mike while she was contemplating further amputation. Mike described how he used 2 below knee prosthetic fins for scuba-diving and suggested the possibility of creating a 'mermaid' style leg - an idea Monique was keen to develop. Monique's 'mermaid fin' helps her to engage her right leg, helping her increase balance, power and coordination in the water.

After their debut year on the team, training partners Monique and Ashleigh began training with the Rio Paralympics as their goal. They trained under coach Alex Hirschauer and the Victorian Institute of Sport. On her 22nd birthday, Monique raced her pet event, the 400 freestyle at the Australian championships in a time less than a second away from the world record to secure a place on the Australian Paralympic Team. 

Monique represented Australia in September of 2016 at the Paralympic Games. Monique competed in a total of 4 events, and on day 8, swam her 400 Freestyle to win the silver medal. Monique's family, her strongest supporters cheered loudly from the stands, just 900 days after they first received the news of the accident. 

Reaction of my family, taken by step mother; Kathy, when Monique claimed silver in the S10 400 Freestyle in Rio, 2016  (Father; Carl, Brother; Chris and Mother; Michelle)

Reaction of my family, taken by step mother; Kathy, when Monique claimed silver in the S10 400 Freestyle in Rio, 2016

(Father; Carl, Brother; Chris and Mother; Michelle)

Monique was the joint winner of RMIT University's Athlete of the year award in 2016, and won the Victorian Swimming Presidents Award for 2015-2016. 

Monique relocated to Queensland in 2017, and was elected into the Leadership Group for the Australian Dolphins Swim Team along side Ellie Cole, Blake Cochrane and Matt Levy.

Unfortunately the Australian Team was unable to compete at the World Championships due to its cancellation after the devastating earthquake in Mexico City. Monique finished no.1 on the world rankings for the S10 400 Freestyle in 2017 and, after shoulder surgery in April 2017 she returned to Butterfly finishing 5th in the S10 100 Butterfly. 

In 2018 Monique won silver behind world recorder holder Aurelie Rivard in the S10 400m freestyle at the Para Pan Pacific Championships held in cairns, Australia.

Monique is currently training in Brisbane for the upcoming World Championships which will be held 9th-15th September in London. Australia is sending a team of 36 swimmers including 11 rookies. Her sights are strongly set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. 

Para Dolphins Swim Team Leadership Group.

Para Dolphins Swim Team Leadership Group.

 
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