Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Barras 2013 Water Polo Calendar

Our water polo calendars have hit the print and and the shelves just in time for Christmas! Get your fix of the best water polo players in Australia, doing their thang on each and every month of 2013!

The Barracudas Olympians are featured on the front cover (below), and every Barracuda squad member is featured through the months.

Massive thanks to the fabulous people that put this calendar together:
Damien Bredberg Photography
Vici Swimwear
Alexis Dawn
NAK Hair
Issada Makeup

Contact me at for payment and shipping details.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Barras calendar photo shoot

We decided as the almost four-time (three-time sounds better anyway) National League champions, we decided that we would get together a calendar to incorporate our team sponsors and to thank them for their crazy amounts of support.

The calendar idea was born through Daryl Agnew, Brand Manager of NAK 'only a hair dresser knows'. Barras have been proudly using NAK hair care products since they became a brand sponsor for the 2012 season. We certainly have the most lucious hair in the league.

I carried Daryl's idea and looked for the area's that needed filling - and the massive void of photography was proudly, professionally and wonderfully filled by Damien Bredberg Photography | Production. After many an after work discussion, Damien and his producer Nicole Letherby gave there time and efforts to shoot our first calendar. 

The first half of the shoot happened on Sunday 5 November at the Queensland Academy of Sport Pool - many thanks to the QAS and namely Melissa Lord and Riley who gave up their Sunday to supervise. This shoot involved all members of the 2013 Barracudas National League squad in "action" shots, which Damien surpassed all expectations! Daryl (NAK) and Georgia (NAK and One Hair Salon) were on hand to fix and flyaways from under our polo caps.  Daryl also supplied the team and the photographers with our personalised NAK hair care more chlorine damaged hair!

The second half of the shoot happened on Monday 6 November at the Somerville House Gym.  Many thanks to Somerville House, and Aaron Clarke - Manager of the Marray Evans Sports and Aquatic Centre for the use of their space, and the gym matts and trampoline!!  Yes thats right, Damien was adament that this shoot would involve a trampoline! 

This was the cover shoot and incorporated the four Barras olympians - Mel Rippon, Kate Gynther, Ash Southern and myself. 

It wasn't only a trampoline however, this was the real deal - beautiful gowns from Alexis Dawn (thanks for the outfits - we will definitely be back to your James Street store!), stunning makeup from Issada, and the lovely makeup artists - Catherine and Jade, and of course hair by NAK with Georgia taking the reigns. 

The shoot took some polo players in hair, makeup and gowns, jumping from a trampoline backwards on to matts and posing mid-flight...sound easy?  Hours of not easy, but oh so much fun!  Damien would'nt take anything but the best, and he kept reminding us that Ash was the natural...well done Southo!

We cant wait for the shots to come through, and send them to print with Bayside Print Solutions.  Not thought of a Christmas gift yet?  Well, you just did :)

Aquadiva at the Olympic Village

Well it's been a while, but I finally received some shots of one of my sponsors - Aquadiva - from our last day in the Olympic Village. 

It was a hard task to get the five Aquadiva Godesses together for this shot, especially as we had seperate scheduled departures to get from the Olympic Village to our chartered QANTAS flight:

Melissa Gorman (open water swimming)
Annabelle Smith (Diving)
Emma Jackson (Triathlon)
Meagan Nay (Swimming)
and myself (Water polo baby!!)

I could only round up Megs in time, and here is the result

There were a few keen photographers hanging around the rings that took the opportunity to join in the swimwear happy snap.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hero Messages

I received an email this morning from the Telstra hero message team explaining that the service for the London 2012 Olympic athletes will be closed down soon.  I got to re-read alot of the messages I got sent whilst I was preparing, competing and reflecting on our perfermances at the Olympics. 

Above is the Down Under ad for the London Olympic athletes

Thanks so much Telstra - it was so good being able to get messages from home during the Games!!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

It's all about Layne

I have been lucky enough to be supported by Layne Beachley's foundation - 'Aim for the Stars' over the last two years in the lead up to the London Olympic Games.  It really has taken a load off considering I had 147 days off work in 2011, and I just added the days this year - 150 days (at least Im consistent).  However I think one of the best things about being an Aim For the Stars recipient is being involved in the "Layne Beachley" brand. 

In 2011 I attended one of Layne's corporate functions with the Commonwealth Bank's 'Women in Focus'.  At this function I attended as one of Layne's recipients and was fortunate enough to get on stage and tell a bit about my story.  There was a highly anticipated raffle of Layne's surfboard - the one she used in her 8th attempt at World Champion...and I won!  Some women at the function thought the raffle was rigged, others asked if I was going to sell it on eBay.  Definitely not!  I asked Layne how heavy (light) I would have to be to actually be able to (attempt to) use her surfboard, she stated "56 kilos".  Well, at least it's a dream.  The surfboard is a piece of art...until I get to 56kgs, hanging up for all to see.

Layne was announced as one of the Australian Olympic Team's Athlete Liason Officers in early 2012.  I had the honour of introducing Layne to our Olympic Water Polo Squad for a "meet and greet" (and to boast that I have Layne's surfboard).

So the next time I saw Layne was at the Olympics.  It was so much fun have her as our Athlete Liason Officer, but she really embraced the made-up position of Social Officer. 

Here I am with Layne and our water polo Athlete Liason Officer Steve Waugh.  They were joined by John Eales and Kieren Perkins in this role.  It was awesome having access to such great sporting figures through the biggest sporting event in our lives! And they certainly made it alot of fun too!

After my arrival back home from the Olympics I was invited to Layne's annual Aim For the Stars Gala. This was preceded by a day with the current Aim For the Stars recipients, in a day full of fun.  I arrived in Sydney on Friday morning and was thrown into a mentoring session with Kirsty and Davina from Seed Coaching.  It was great to meet the other recipients in such a cool environment.  Next up was a 'Brand YOU' session with Life's a Gym Founder and CEO, the super vibrant Nikki Fogden-Moore. We were prepped and practised to get on stage for the Gala that evening. But not before the Sydney College of Makeup Art made us camera ready with hair and makeup.

I arrived in style with some lovely friends I made on the Welcome Home Olympic Parades - Kim and Thomas from Sold Out Events. They actually were coordinating the parades whilst we were galavanting and having a blast - thanks boys!  Thomas even let me pose with his georgeous pugalier puppy Senor Camambert, such a cutie...both of them!

Navy Diver and shark attack victim Paul de Gelder was the guest speaker.  He had us all enthralled with his story, and was happy to take a few happy snaps afterwards (great taste in pose if I do say so myself).  And the hostest with the mostest - Layne Beachley with her main man, the one and only INXS band member Kirk Pengilly...yep, hanging with rock gods.  Oh, and Jess Watson (solo sailor extraordinair) made the cut for this shot too :)

Layne invited me to speak on stage about my Olympic experience, and how I was involved with Layne over in London.  When I got off stage I was introduced to a fellow "Stinger".  Not an Aussie Stinger, but a Sydney Stinger.  Justin Nel explained to me that he was the president of the Sydney Stingers - the gay men's water polo team.  Of course me and my teammates have heard of the Sydney Stingers, due to some naming rights issues.  It was lovely to meet Justin, and as we parted he asked if I would be interested in leading the Sydney Stingers in next years Sydney Mardis Gras!  Would I ever - my first Mardis Gras experience could be on a float...cant wait!  My first question to Justin however was what would I be wearing? His response still fresh in my mind "less is more"...oh dear :)

It has been great to be involved with Layne's foundation, and just to be involved with Layne herself, as a super star (and a normal sheila). I have made many people jealous with my connection with surfings greatest - Layne Beachley!
Thanks Layne :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Triple J appearance

So driving home yesterday I heard on the radio Triple J's The Doctor interviewing Russell Brand.  I wondered if they would appreciate my 'Russel Brand kissing' photo...

So I stopped wondering and Tweeted it to Triple J.  I had an immediate response from the radio show's producer, asking if I could get interviewed on the show today... go to the 31st minute of the podcast from Wednesday 26 September

We're talking a possible reenactment when Russell returns to Australia...trying to tee up a Triple J studio repeat!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Olympic aftermath

Well the 'Welcome Home' parades certainly kept me busy, and kept me in the glorious Olympic bubble, but since they have stopped, and I returned home to reflect on what has just happened, only a month ago, it all seems a bit strange.  It is suggested that the Australian Olympic Team attend an Olympic debrief session with our chosen sport's psychologist.. I have now done this, and the 'Post Olympic Games Depression' was mentioned.  They suggest that it's hard to get back into the "real world" after our every movement for the last four years has been about the London Olympic Games! 

When I returned back to work, two weeks ago now, I was welcomed warmly with some photos that colleagues put around the office. 

I have also had some lovely Olympic reminders from friends who went to a fair bit of effort during our Olympic campaign.  I let them borrow my 'non-Olympic' to do with what they wanted, and below is how they chose.

Finally, and most deliciously, I have received some very special parcels that friends saved during the Games.  I can neither confirm nor deny if said parcels are still in tact, but they are/were oh so pretty!

A Cadbury sponorship up for grabs perhaps?  Nooooo, that is definitely NOT a good idea :)

I am awaiting permissions to have photos of the school's I've been visiting on my blog, so hopefully the next one isn't too far away.

Until then

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Back in the office... The Aurecon Q&A

Just a little update of something Aurecon put on for me during the Brisbane Parade (I have just returned back to work, so have only now gained access to these photos).

Soon after the Brisbane parade and the civic reception at Parliament House, I headed back to the Aurecon office where Chris Lawson (Manager Brisbane Delivery Centre), Harry Asche (Unit Manager Transport) and Ken Gillard (Technical Director Transport) organised a Q&A compared by Brigitte Fernandes (Senior Communications Advisor).  It was overwhelming to see the amount of colleagues interested to hear my Olympic story, and of course to check out the medal! These artistic beauties were taken by graphicician extraordinaire, Romina Vella.

The piece of bronze that everyone wanted to see, and Brigitte asking the hard questions

Team Transport represent with Ken Gillard & Peter Josey, and Bill Guy unhappily the 4th Aurecon person to see the medal (beaten by Ralph, Jamie & Jane)

The family affair, top with Bill and Liz Guy’s children, and bottom with John Mason’s family

The Aureconites that were cheering loudly at the water polo arena in Olympic Park Ray Logan and Alexis Trevethan and right, friends Karen Heidrich and Debbie McMillan, Debbie and I used do swimming training together, back when I was going to be an Olympic swimmer…J

The post-Olympic festivities have been amazing, and now the school engagements are piling up…even a trip to Bowen.  I’ve loved being an Olympian, loved even more being an Olympic medallist, and have been touched by the amount of support I have received by Aurecon and my colleagues. I think a special mention must go to Pejvak Pajooheshfar who sent me a heromessage almost daily. 
Now it’s back to the real world, back in the office, but I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my life.  I’m quite happy staying out of a pool for a while, but I bet it wont take long before I’m back in there.
Until next time (perhaps)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Olympic Parades

No rest for the wicked, well only three days after we were greeted by the Prime Minister at the QANTAS hanger before we jumped back on a plane to kick-of the "Welcome Home" parades.

We had seven parades in seven cities in nine days.  It has been epic, and something that I will remember forever, a nice little momento to tag on to the end of my Olympic memories!

Each city put on there own special public celebration.  Sydney kicked it off with a huge ticket tape parade down the streets of the CBD ending with a civic function at the Opera House where I got to catch up with dear friend Susan Faulkner.

Melbourne was next which a huge reception at Federation Square.  I was lucky enough that a lot of family and friends came down to see the celebrations.  It was great to see them, and to show off my medal :) Thanks to friends Shelly, Jack and Elle and cousins Trish, Marty, Creina, Lousie, Violet, Kylie and Kieren, Aunty Gab, Uncle Tim and of course the matriarch - Grandma!!

Next up was Adelaide.  The parade got cancelled as a hail storm was predicted, but that didn't stop the south aussies gathering in Rundall St Mall to welcome us.  The Adelaidians even provided us with Green and Gold 'Haighs' chocolate frogs.  My employer Aurecon was well represented in the crowd with a non-visible John Mason, but a very visible Ralph Balperio!

Then came my home town parade, and boy did Brisbane put it on for us.  There was a massive contingent of Queensland Olympians that paraded, and an even bigger audience up and down Queen Street Mall.  This was the only parade where our jackets weren't required...where else but Queensland!

I would like to give a special mention to the Stuartholme contingent, the Chaffin's and Nicola Johnson, the Aurecon contingent (whom I claim were'nt cheering loud enough to see/hear) the B&D and marketing chicks - Karen, Krista, Joanne, Sune and Romina, the Mareeba Road representatives, the Parer's (complete with Chelsea and Louis cheer squad), and the QAS water polo girls - Steph, Maddie, Hannah and Cas.  Thanks all so much for coming down!!

Our next destination was Hobart, and the only public celebration that fell on a weekend. It was a very chilly day indeed, but the sun did shine.  Many Tasmanians showed up with there autograph books and enthusiasm.  This was the only parade where we were stationed at "signing desks", it was nice to sit down for a change, and have some nice chats with the locals.  The Tasmanian Olympic Committee also arranged for some primary school competition winners to hit us with some hard questions in a Q&A before the celebrations.  It was a lovely touch to a fabulous weekend in Hobart (plus the Cadbury they gave us).

From Hobart to Perth, where most of the hockey guys and gals, and kayakers joined us as they are all based in the west.  The weather couldn't decide what it was doing, but the AOC came prepared, and supplied us with our very own "Olympic poncho".  This is where I had my first "fan sighting".  Thanks to Kassia who spotted me and asked for a photo stating "I read your blog!!".  Love it!

Perthians came out in numbers, and Aurecon and Stuartholme were once again represented.  Aurecon with good friends Jamie and Darren and recent GC half marathonist Jane, and Stuartholme with Olympic Games trooper (attended the games as well as the parades) Lauren.  

And last, but definitely not least was Canberra.  Most of the Olympians have been an AIS athlete at some stage, so it was a very nice feeling driving from the airport and heading to the Novotel instead of the institute.  As we have all spent a lot of time in Canberra it was great to see many familiar faces!  This parade also marked the history making feat by my teammate Bronwen Knox, the canoe queen Jess "silver" Fox and myself, as the only three Olympians to attend all parades.  Many other olympians asked how we did it, I guess the answer was similar to that of any sporting, determination, desire...pride, perseverance, passion (I'm just showing off the 'three's' that Layne Beachley taught me)

[The Canberra "Troopers" video can be seen here - Canberra caps off 'Welcome Home' tour ]

I would like to say a MASSIVE thanks to the AOC for organising these parades, in particular James Edwards and Georgie Exton, Toni and Gabby.  Also to Thomas Staunton of Sold Out Events for his coordinating expertise. To Accor Hotels for their hospitality and little treats they left all the Olympians on arrival.  And finally to QANTAS, for allowing the green and gold tracksuits to crash QANTAS Club every day for the past nine days!

I will keep posting as more Olympic things come, but it does kind of feel like the end of an era, arriving home from the's marked the end of the Olympics, what I've been working towards for the past eight years.  So, so long...for now :)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

BRONZE is the new Gold

Things have been a bit quite from my end, as I haven’t updated my blog since the round games. I do apologise, but things have been a little bit hectic.  So in chronological order, here is what happened. 

We finished top of our pool after beating the Russian’s comfortably 11-8.  I was able to kick-start the scoring with this goal, pictured below.  This was always one of our goals, but the way the Olympic competition goes, as there are only eight teams in the women’s competition, everyone goes through to the quarter-finals, so this is where the games really count. 

So we came across China for our quarter-final.  We were confident going into this game as China hadn’t produced the goods in this tournament thus far, but how wrong could we be.  This game was the most tense game I can remember playing.  It was an extremely high-scoring affair, with a 13-13 scoreline at the end of regular time.  Neither team would give up in the two extra-time periods, so we were forced to go to a penalty shoot-out.  We have had so much practise at these, but things weren’t looking good when our first shooter missed…but it was meant to be, our next four shooters scored, and China cracked under the pressure.  The photo below shows the sheer delight in this victory…and also made the top 20 photos of the Olympic Games!

Our next opponent was the USA, the team we weren’t supposed to meet until the final, but Spain toppled them in the groups, so the semi-final it was!  And yet another extremely close game.  We thought it was done and dusted with 1 second to go, and the USA were up by one goal, but the USA coach called an illegal time-out (they weren’t in possession of the ball) which gave us a lifeline and a penalty…which we scored and sent the game into extra-time…once again.  This time it was the USA that took advantage of the extra six minutes of play, and in an instant it seemed our Olympic dream was shattered.  It was extremely disappointing to lose this semi-final, but meeting our family and friends after the game helped put a smile on my dial!

So to our Bronze medal game against Hungary.  This was a repeat of the 2008 Olympics, where Australia won Bronze in a penalty shoot-out, so were hoping to not put our family and friends in that position again…but we were wrong!  We let a comfortable lead disappear, but thought everything was won when we were leading with three seconds to go…but to no avail, the Hungos did a submarine act, surprised our goalie and scored with 1 second to go, sending us to extra-time for the third consecutive game. We made no mistake in the extra-time and buried the Hungo’s for good.  So we are the OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALLISTS!!!  Haven’t you heard, Bronze is the new Gold! 

We have now landed back in Australia, but will all reconvene for the Olympic parades around the country (as medallists we get to go to all of these).

I am sorry to provide such nail biting games, but no one can accuse us of not being entertaining!
Until next time

Monday, 6 August 2012

Semi-Final Update

We are playing USA at 3:30pm Tuesday, so it will be 12:30am Wednesday morning AUST EST. If you didn't get Monday off, surely you're bosses will allow a mid-week late-mark.
Send us all your positive Aussie vibes please!!

Victory celebrations after our epic win against China in the Quarter-Final.  Level at full-time, level after extra-time, won on the penalty shoot-out!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Quarter Final update

Our next game is at 8:20pm Sunday night (UK), so it will be on at 5:20am Monday (AUS). Maybe this isnt a "stay up late" viewing but a "get up early" one. 

C'mon Channel 9 - show the Aussie Stingers some support!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

And we're through to the Quarter Finals!!

A great game against Russia with an 11-8 victory.  We are now headed to the Quarter Finals against China on Sunday!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Let the Games begin!

I am writing to you from the Olympic Village after the start of our Olympic campaign, and a very good start it was.  Our first game on 30th July was against the European Champions, Italy.  The last time we played Italy they knocked us out of the medal rounds at the World Championships in 2011, so we definitely had something to prove.  And they knew about it…the whole way through the match.  The final score was 10-8, a comfortable victory, and a very hard fought one.

The next game in our campaign was our second round game against the home team and fast improving – Great Britain.  We were prepared for a tough game as the Brits played very well in their previous game against the Russians, being defeated by a punishing one goal in a 7-6 score-line. It was also a very highly anticipated game, as the last time we played (in the London Prepares series in May 2012) the Brits labelled the Aussies in the press “the dirtiest team ever”.  We haven’t responded to this, as we just want to let the score-line tell the story.  We played extremely well against the Brits with their very boisterous home crowd.  After a 6-2 first half, we knew we just had to keep chipping away at it, and chip we did, to make the final score 16-3.  Once again there has been some “whinging poms” in the press, check it out here

We are now preparing for our last ‘round’ match verse the Russians.  The result of this match will determine who will cross-over to the weakest team in the other pool, so it is a very important game.  As such, on our days “off” we have been doing three training sessions, to make sure we are prepared for almost everything. 

On a more festive note, since I blogged last, we got to march in the London 2012 Olympic Games OPENING CEREMONY.  It was an absolutely amazing experience, and something I will remember forever.  I met a lot of athletes from around the world, and got to dance the night away with the best from Australia.  My teammate Victoria Brown (pictured below) and I apparently got quite a lot of air time during the ceremony, and this picture featured in some of the press in the UK. 

Also on a lighter note, the Australian Olympic Committee arranged a photo shoot for the Aussie Stingers at the War Memorials in Westminster.  It was quite strange wandering around in our togs and robes, but we certainly made for some unplanned tourist attraction.

Until next time, and from the quarters, semis or grand-final