Nadine is a writer, a speaker, a teacher, a mother. But before all this, she was an Olympic swimmer.
She began swimming at the age of seven and by the time she was eight, she knew she wanted to represent Australia. When she was 15, Nadine overcame Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, only to have her dream of an Olympic berth in Barcelona shattered by a broken neck. She fought back to finally realise her dream, swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in the 200m Breaststroke where she came 6th in the final in a personal best time. She went on to captain the Australian Swimming Team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and 1999 Pan Pacific Championships. She still cringes when people ask her if she won a medal, but no longer wishes that people didn’t know she ever swam.
On retiring from swimming, Nadine had to completely re-define her life. She struggled with depression for five years while studying for dual teaching qualifications (Primary and Secondary English) and working in PR & Marketing. In 2004 she began teaching English at high school and it was then that she began seriously shaping the memoir she had started in 1999 as part of her university degree. She loved teaching more than she ever imagined and found a perspective on her ‘past life’ that allowed her to realise that her memoir was one great big self-indulgent purge in sore need of some real writing.
Since Nadine’s story captured the attention of the media in 1996 she has enjoyed success as a motivational speaker on both the corporate and schools circuits. She says. “one of my greatest joys is connecting with an audience and feeling that my experiences, in some small way, might help inspire others.” This is the truth, not just some platitude that sounds good in the newspapers.
Nadine lives in the Hunter Valley, NSW with her husband, two year old son and eight week old daughter. She spends her days trying to contain the chaos, mopping snotty noses and peanut butter-smeared furniture, thinking up creative ways to hide broccoli in food that her toddler will eat while breastfeeding the baby and all the while dreaming about the thousand writing projects bursting from her mind. She looks (in vain) for time to write and is trying to flog as many copies of her memoir as she possibly can. In the future she hopes to have healthy, happy, well-adjusted kids, a productive fruit and veggie garden, a few more publications under her belt, a string of speaking engagements lined up and a quiet hour here and there to enjoy a red and read a good book.