Frequently Asked Questions
Name: Monique Murphy
Born: Wellington, New Zealand
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
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.
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.
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.