Shelley Taylor-Smith is an Australian pool and open water swimmer from Western Australia.
“Shelley’s passion for life is as intense as her passion for swimming.” – Laurie Lawrence
As a young girl Shelley had a dream – to be like her role model Shane Gould and win a gold medal. Despite most of her school years in a back brace and spending three months in traction with partial paralysis when only 24 years old, Shelley never let go of her dream. Her coach told her “Do you know, you have the potential to be a World Marathon Swimming Champion?”
Shelley took up marathon swimming because it didn’t require her to make those back-bending tumble turns and has since achieved what no other woman has in sport.
In 1998 Shelley was told she had six months to live. While swimming in polluted water she had picked up deadly parasites and giardia. The infections had manifested as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she was warned that if she continued to push herself her system would completely fail and she would die. Six months later Shelley won the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim for a record fifth time and only then did she decide to retire from representing Australia.
Shelley’s ‘winner’s attitude’ and her motto: “If you don’t quit – you will make it” translates into her everyday life and now she empowers others by sharing with them her greatest asset – The Champion Mindset – training our leaders of tomorrow to think and be Champions today!
Shelley is as dedicated out of the water as she is in it. Her charity work includes: Vice Patron of Life Education NSW and her 2 favourite youth charities – the Humpty Dumpty Foundation and Youth Off the Streets – to which she donates ALL profits from sales of her books.
Shelley teaches first-hand her passion for open water swimming and can turn your love-hate relationship around so you too will be the Master of your next Open water swimming competition. She provides:
OWS Clinics from Beginners to Advanced in corporation with Swimming WA
Come and be race ready for your next event, Novice or Ironman with OWS Clinics for TRIATHLETES
Group Squad Coaching for the 2011 Rottnest Channel 20km Solos & Duos. A fifteen (15) week program beginning 2010
Personalized and interactive Online Coaching Programs including the Rottnest Channel 15 week training programs and individually ‘Taylor-Made’ programs for English Channel marathon swimmers
Individual and group swim stroke and technique instruction (by appointment). Contact Shelley directly at email@example.com
Need help with your next competition then “Pick Shelley’s Brain” (available through skype)
Perform at your best with 1on1 Champion Mindset Coaching
WOWSA Certified Coach Level
Certified Coach Level 5
Accreditation and Awards
Shelley's achievements include:
She was the No. 1 ranking for six consecutive years in the Marathon Swimming Rankings.
She was ranked No. 1 at the 1991 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit, overall for both men and women.
She set a total of 15 World Marathon Swim Records
She won four FINA World Championships 25 km gold medals.
She won four Pan Pacific Swimming Championship 25 km gold medals.
She won the 16 km race at the 1989 Australian Marathon Swimming Championships in 3 hours 17 minutes 42 seconds.
She won Manhattan Island Marathon Swim five times, breaking the record in 1995 for swimming the 48 km distance in 5 hours 45 minutes
She completed a solo 33.5 km English Channel crossing on 26 August 1990 in 9 hours 26 minutes (the first by a West Australian)
Triple English Channel Crossing Relay 1996
She was the 2008 recipient of the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award, an award given by the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
On 10 August 1992, she won the 30 km Sylvan Lake World Series Marathon Swim in Alberta, Canada.
In her 15 years of international competition she has been awarded:
4 times World and Australian Long Distance Swimmer of the Year
Australian Female Athlete of the Year
Guinness Book of World Records for fastest time overall in New York's 48K Manhattan Island swim
Guinness Book of World Records for her epic swim Sydney - Wollongong 69K record swim (smashing the record by more than 15 hours)
Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Medal 2002
Australian Sports Medal Recipient 2000
'MV Shelley Taylor-Smith' Ferry, Perth Western Australia
Advance Australia Award
Australian of the Year Finalist 1989 & 1991
Australian Female Athlete of the Year 1991
World Long Distance/Open Water Swimmer of the Year 1988-1994
Australian Long Distance/Open Water Swimmer of Year 1991, 1994, 1996
Induction into USA Amateur Sports Hall of Fame
Nominated for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year category in the WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association
She has also been awarded:
As a two-time finalist in the Australian of the Year Award
This Is Your Life recipient
The Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award
Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
National Dean's List of USA
The College of Education Dean's List USA
Gamma Beta Phi Honour Society
Omicron Delta Kappa Honour Society
Honorary Secretary FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC)
Australia Day Ambassador
Ambassador: Youth Off The Streets & Humpty Dumpty Foundation
Vice-Patron of Life Education (NSW)
Patron of Western Australian Open Water Swimming Association
Patron of Rottnest Channel Swimming Association
Clean Up Australia Day Spokesperson
Chairperson FINA Athletes Commission (1998-2000)
FINA Athletes Representative (1989-2000)
She was inducted in the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame in its Class of 2018.