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Madeleine ‘Maddie’ McTernan is a swimmer and Paralympian who was awarded a Tier 2 Scholarship within the 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

Maddie was born in 2000 on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, where she discovered her love of the water. She moved to Coffs Harbour, NSW, with her family, and at the age of 13 joined the Coffs Harbour Swimming Club and trained with coach Eugene Brogmus.

Having been diagnosed with an intellectual impairment, autism, anxiety and ADHD, Maddie was classified as S14 and was soon competing at state and national level. Maddie performed well at the NSW M/C Championships in 2014 and won medals at the Australian Age Nationals in 2015. Just a year later, she won her first national open medal.

Maddie’s family then moved to the Gold Coast and success followed. She represented Australia for the first time at the World Para Swimming Championships in 2019 and finished fifth in the S14 100m backstroke. In 2020, she won her first international title with gold in the S14 200m freestyle at the World Para Series in Melbourne, and broke a world record for the 400m short course in the same year.

Maddie swam for her country at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and won silver in the mixed relay and finished fourth in the 100m backstroke. She finished 2021 ranked number 4 for international seniors and number 1 for national seniors.

Maddie is far from finished. She aims to continue representing her country at international level and to be an ambassador for children with disabilities so that they too can achieve their dreams in sport. She would also like to continue volunteering at Riding for the Disabled.

“I am so grateful and feel honoured with the news of receiving the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship. To be recognised for my swimming amongst other incredible athletes is amazing. This Scholarship will help me succeed my goal to keep representing Australia for many years to come. I am still so thrilled to be a Scholarship Holder with so many talented Australian sporting heroes.” – Maddie McTernan on being selected as a 2022 Tier 2 Scholarship Holder.

“Training hard, never give up, dream, believe, achieve.”

Awards, Honours & Achievements

  • 2019: INAS Global Games – gold, 4 x 200m freestyle relay and world record
  • 2019: INAS Global Games – gold, 4 x 50m freestyle relay
  • 2019: World Para Swimming Championships – 5th, 100m backstroke
  • 2020: World Para Series – gold in the 200m freestyle women’s open multi-class event
  • 2020: Hancock Prospecting Australian Virtual State Championships – 1st and world record, 400m short course
  • 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – silver, mixed 4x100m relay
  • 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – 4th, 100m backstroke
  • 2021: Australian Age Swimming Championships – gold, 200m freestyle
  • 2021: Australian Age Swimming Championships – gold, 50m backstroke
  • 2021: Australian Age Swimming Championships – bronze 100m backstroke
  • 2022: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 3

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Bio picture credit Swimming Australia


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