Mel Cunningham Talks About Her Long Career On WOWSA Live

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International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer and member of the executive management team Melissa Cunningham won the 1994 FINA World Swimming Championships and other international races and set world records over the course of her career.

The Australian native has continued her swimming success as an administrator, inspiration and announcer through typically tireless efforts on dryland. Upon her retirement, she become an administrator at FINA, with the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and at the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as well as served as the 2008 Olympic Games marathon swimming announcer.

Ned Denison, chairperson of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, interviewed Cunningham on today’s WOWSA Live program. In a wide-ranging conversation, she talked about:

* playing water polo and dreaming about representing Australia at an international level
* staying in Hotel Neanderthal in Italy
* competing in the pre-FINA World Championships 25 km race in Italy during a lightning in San Felice Circeo to Terracina in 1993
* being told she is the queen during the 1994 FINA World Championships 25 km while beating Rita Kovács and Shelley Taylor-Smith in Terracina
* being inspired by her coach Dick Campion, Australian team manager Chris Guesdon and Sue Guesdon (her “lucky charm”), and swimmers David O’Brien, David Bates, Tammy van Wisse, Grant Robinson, and Tracy Knowles
* swimming from Malta to Sicily, Italy in 1996 in 19 hours 11 minutes together with Shelley Taylor-Smith, Joe Mitchell and Grant Robinson
* swimming in a shark cage in Magnetic Island, Australia
* impacting her physiologically and mentally when she set a world record of 93,000 meters in a pool in Queensland, Australia in a 24-hour period, breaking the existing record by 10,900 meters and had chlorine poisoning
* serving on the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee
* implementing innovative concepts at the FINA level like printing the swimmer’s number on the back of their hands and on the side of their head if they were bald
* helping setting up the Australia Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and figuring out how to get all qualified swimmers and contributors honored

1996 Mediterranean International Swimming Relay Race results:
1. Australia in 19 hours 11 minutes
2. Italy in 19 hours 15 minutes
3. Czech Republic in 20 hours 42 minutes
4. Slovenia in 20 hours 46 minutes
5. Hungary in 20 hours 56 minutes

For more information on the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, visit here.

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