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Madeleine Gough

Madeleine Gough



Place of Birth

Coffs Harbour, NSW


Coffs Harbour

Junior Club

Coffs Harbour

Senior Club

TSS Aquatics/ Gold Coast


Chris Nesbitt

Olympic History

Tokyo 2020

Career Events

Swimming Women's 1500m Freestyle


Madeleine's Story

Fast Facts

Sport: Swimming
Event: 1500m freestyle
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020
Highlights: 5th at the 2019 World Championships
Club: TSS Aquatics
Year Born: 1999
State Born: NSW

About Madeleine

So many Olympic swimmers started out in the sport because their parents wanted to “drown-proof” them or because they were asthmatics and blowing bubbles underwater would strengthen their lungs. Maddy Gough was different.

When she was four, her parents decided to explore Australia, so for two years Maddy and her two brothers travelled the country with them on a grand adventure. She loved everything about the trip but what she loved most of all was being in the water. She swam in rock pools and beneath waterfalls and in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean.

It was a big adjustment for her when the family returned to the village of Karangi, just outside Coffs Harbour, but what made life liveable for her was the water. She signed up for proper swimming lessons and from there it was an easy step to joining a squad. When the family moved to the Gold Coast when she was 15, she linked up with TSS Aquatic coach Chris Nesbitt and began her move up the rankings.

Maddy made her first Australian team when she was 18, competing in the Tokyo Pan Pacs, where she narrowly missed making the podium in the 400m freestyle, finishing fourth. She also contested the 800m and 1500m freestyle, where she finished seventh and sixth respectively.

At her maiden world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Maddy achieved her best result, finishing fifth in the women’s 1500m freestyle final. It came, then, as no surprise when she unleashed a swim of 15.46.13, the third-fastest 1500m freestyle swim in the world – behind Katie Ledecky of the USA and China’s Wang Jianhiahe – to qualify for her first Olympic Team.

There she qualified for the final and finished in eighth place in 16.05.81, as Ledecky predictably took out the gold.

While her team-mates were making a stellar start to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Maddy was competing instead at the US Nationals in southern California. On the opening night of finals in Irvine, she won the 1500m freestyle title in 16.07.34. As it happened, Ledecky got a good look at the Australian during the race – as a commentator for NBC.

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