Event: 100m Breaststroke
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020 (gold)
Highlights: Gold medal at Tokyo 2020 (4x100m Medley Relay). Silver in the 50m Breastroke at the Youth Olympic Games
Coach: Sean Eels
Club: Southport Olympic Swim Club
State Born: Queensland
Chelsea began swimming at six-years-old in Biloela, QLD and represented Australia for the first time at the FINA World Junior Championships in Indiana in 2017. She made it to the final of the 50m Breaststroke, where she finished in seventh position with a time of 32.12 seconds. She was also a member of the Australian Team for the 4x100m medley relay, who finished in 6th position in the final.
At the 2018 GHF Australian Age Championships, Hodges became a dual national champion, taking out both the 50m and 100m breaststroke for the 16 years age group.
A prominent member of the Australian Team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Chelsea won a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke and the 4x100m medley relay. She also competed in the 100m breaststroke as well as the mixed 4x100m medley relay, where she finished in 9th position in both events.
Later that year, Hodges represented Australia at the Summer Universiade. She produced a bronze medal performance in the 50m Breaststroke with a time of 31.13 seconds.
In early 2021, Chelsea claimed her first national titles when she won both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events at the 2021 Australian Open Championships.
Chelsea found herself in elite company as she lined up for the final of the 4x100m medley relay at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The woman who would finish the meet as the greatest Australian Olympian of all time, Emma McKeon was set to swim the butterfly leg, dual gold medallist Kaylee McKeown was to lead off in the backstroke leg and the mightiest relay swimmer this country has ever produced, Cate Campbell, would swim the anchor leg of freestyle.
Yet it was Chelsea, who started competing as a six-year-old in the unlikely swimming stronghold of Biloela, who would prove to be the key to Australia’s triumph. She would handle the breaststroke leg, coming into the event 1.65sec slower than the time Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby of the USA.had posted in the individual 100m breaststroke. If the American maintained that margin, Australia stood no chance of taking the gold.
But in one of the (largely) unseen swims of the Games, the then 20-year-old Queenslander produced the swim of her life to restrict Jacoby’s advantage to only .54sec. Suddenly it was “Game On”, as first McKeon and then fellow veteran Campbell narrowed the gap. McKeon picked up a quarter of a second on Torri Huske and then Campbell lifted once again to outswim Abbey Weitzell to win by .13sec. It was a brilliant team victory, but the least-known member of the quartet had made it possible.
It came as no surprise when Chelsea yet again handled the breaststroke leg as Australia claimed another medley relay gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, while she also made it to the individual podium twice, as a bronze medallist in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
The Sean Eels-trained Southport swimmer, now with a medal of the Order of Australia in her keeping along with Olympic and Commonwealth Games golds, is keeping herself busy while preparing for Paris as she studies nursing at Griffith University.