Frequently Asked Questions

Name: Monique Murphy

Monique rock climbing with  Riverlife Brisbane  at Kangaroo Point 2016

Monique rock climbing with Riverlife Brisbane at Kangaroo Point 2016

Age: 25

Born: Wellington, New Zealand

Sport: Swimming

Swim Club:

Main Event: 400m Freestyle

Disability: Right Leg Below Knee Amputation                                                                                                                                                                   Cause: Fall from balcony; suspected spiked drink

Paralympic Medals: Sliver in S10 400m Freestyle, Rio 2016

Pets: I have a cat named 'Rio'

Favourite TV show: Friends and Bones

AFL Team: Geelong Cats

Results/notable achievements:

2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Open Championships:   Multi Classification 400 Freestyle Champion. selection onto Australian Dolphins World Championships Team

2018 Silver medal S10 400 Freestyle Para Pan Pacific Championships

2018 Multi Classification 400 Freestyle; 2nd place. selection onto Australian Dolphins Para Pan Pacific Championships Team

      2017 World Ranking no.1 S10 400 Freestyle. World Ranking no.5 S10 100 Butterfly

2017 Select as a Para Dolphins Swim Team Leader

      2017 Hancock Prospecting Australian Open Championships:                                                                                                                                                               Multi Classification 400 Freestyle; 2nd place. Multi Classification 200 Freestyle Champion, selection onto Australian Dolphins World                           Championships Team

      2016 Rio Paralympic Games:                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Silver medal 400 Freestyle, 10th S10 100 Freestyle, 11th S10 100 Backstroke, 12th S10 50 Freestyle

      2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Open Championships:                                                                                                                                                                  Multi Classification 400 Freestyle Champion, and S10 Australian Record Holder

      2015 Australian Open Short Course Championships:                                                                                                                                                                                Multi Classification 400 Freestyle Champion. Short Course S10 400 Freestyle World Record Holder

      2015 Glasgow IPC World Championships:                                                                                                                                                                                                  6th S10 400 Freestyle, 7th S10 100 Butterfly

      2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Open Championships:                                                                                                                                                                  Multi Classification 400 Freestyle; 2nd place, and selection onto first Australian Dolphins Swim Team

 

Do you swim with your leg on?                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Swimmers are not permitted to wear any prosthetics or aid when competing. I wear a 'mermaid' prosthetic fin which is strictly for training. My RUSH prosthetic is water proof so I can wear it at the beach and in the ocean, but if I swimming laps I prefer to not wear a prosthetic. 

Which athletes inspire you?                                                                                                                                                                                                                       As a child I looked up to Petria Thomas and was inspired by her perseverance and dedication. After my accident, I was shown a video of American Para-snowboarder Amy Purdy dancing on the Ellen Degeneres Show. I remember thinking, 'If she can dance that well on 2 prosthetic legs, I can do anything with just 1.'  

Can you wear high heels?                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I rely on donations to help me afford the advanced prosthetics I currently wear. I have one prosthetic from RUSH Prosthetics that is a 'all terrain' carbon-fibre prosthetic. This makes it waterproof, which is important when you live around the pool. I wear this leg in the gym so I can do high impact work and weights. This foot is adjusted for me to wear my runners, which are the only shoes I can wear comfortably with this prosthetic. I have a second leg from Freedom Innovations, that has an adjustable heel. This means I can wear shoes with a heel height of up to 2 inches. I also love to dress up my prosthetic leg with prosthetic covers from the ‘Alleles Design Studio’ I had a custom Australian Themed cover made for the Paralympics.

Australian Swimmer of the Year Awards 2015

Australian Swimmer of the Year Awards 2015

Can you still feel your foot?                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I can still feel my right foot. I can still wiggle my toes and sometimes I will still feel it so convincingly that Ill go to walk without having put on my prosthetic leg and fall over! This 'phantom sensation' is not painful and feels like pins and needles. I do occasionally suffer from 'phantom limb pain' which is very aggressive and painful and comes in waves like electric shocks. The further along my journey the less this occurs. 

Did you always want to go to the Paralympics after your accident?                                                                                                                                                      Not at all! Initially I was very adamant about returning to the pool, I was not interested in the early mornings and hard training that I knew it would take. Through my rehabilitation I discovered how liberating being in the water felt and fell in love with swimming again. In the early days I would train because it was the one I could do that didn't cause me pain. Swimming helped reduce my pain, helped me sleep better and get fit again, and being in the water always put a smile on my face. Within a few months I was training up to 8 times a week. 

As a child I had dreams of representing Australia as a Olympic Swimmer so it means alot to have a chance to chase my childhood dream- even though it has come around in an unexpected way. 

Rio Paralympic Village in front of the Paralympic logo the '3 Agitos' which is Latin for 'I move'. This symbol reflects the Paralympic Motto 'Spirit in Motion'

Rio Paralympic Village in front of the Paralympic logo the '3 Agitos' which is Latin for 'I move'. This symbol reflects the Paralympic Motto 'Spirit in Motion'

 

How much do you train?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I train up to ten 2 hour swimming sessions each week and 3 gym sessions. As a distance swimmer I swim up to 5-7km per session. I also do bike work and pilates. The longest session I have completed was a 15km 'Christmas Set' in 2017. 

 

Photo taken 3 years to the day after initial accident.  From left to right; Freedom Innovation Prosthetic "Runway" Leg; Mermaid Fin made by Royal Park Prosthetics, and Rush Prosthetics Leg

Photo taken 3 years to the day after initial accident.

From left to right; Freedom Innovation Prosthetic "Runway" Leg; Mermaid Fin made by Royal Park Prosthetics, and Rush Prosthetics Leg