Hayley Lewis

Olympic swimming hero, businesswoman.


Hayley Lewis is remembered as the 15-year-old ‘girl next door’. Swept to fame in 1990 by winning five gold medals at the Auckland Commonwealth Games. This amazing feat placed Hayley into the hearts and minds of Australians everywhere. One year after Auckland, Hayley went on to greater fame by winning the 200m freestyle World Championship in front of an ecstatic Perth crowd.

Previous experience

Medals: In 1992, Hayley was again performing on the world stage at the Barcelona Olympic Games. She brought home two medals – one silver and one bronze.

Swim: Over her swimming career Hayley has remained one of Australia’s most consistent swimmers with success at all levels of competition including. Australian Titles, Pan Pacific Games, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and World Championships.

Illness: 1996 was a tough year for Hayley. Her training was constantly interrupted by illness but she fought back to win the National 400m and 800m titles and passed a gruelling fitness test allowing her to take her place in the Olympic team. Unfortunately, the breaks in training and brief hospitalisation had affected her Olympic preparation and Hayley was not able to copy her Barcelona success. 1996 ended on an up note with Hayley being voted ‘Female Distance Swimmer of the Year’ at the Telstra Australian Swimming Awards.

Weight Loss: In 1998, after the birth of her first child Jacob, Hayley joined forces with Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centres as a key spokesperson helping her to get back in shape and encouraging other young mothers to do the same.

Medals: Back in top shape Hayley surprised herself by powering onto her third Olympic team with emphatic victory in the 800m freestyle at the Olympic trials in May 2000. Hayley competed in the World Swimming Championships in Japan in July 2001 in three events – 1500m in the pool and Open Water 5km & 10km and winning Bronze medal in the 5km.

Retirement: Hayley’s decision to retire was due to the fact that Open Water swimming would not be included in the 2004 Olympics but she went out in style and remains the current Australian 5km and 10km Open Water Champion.

Business: Out of the water, Hayley has embarked on several business ventures including her own swim school at Westfield Carindale in Brisbane. This was the first time anyone had placed a Swim school in a shopping Centre and as a result was proven to be a very successful business plan spanning over ten years.

TV: Hayley has owned other business ventures including, a range of fitness equipment, she has been involved with television commentary – Hayley joined the Channel 7 team during their coverage of the XVII Commonwealth Games in July/August in Manchester – and is highly sought after for speaking engagements and personal appearances.

REtail: In 2010, due to Westfield closures, Hayley said good bye to Swimming and closed the Swim School. This became an opportune time for Hayley to embark on another life-long dream and bought a well-known Brisbane gift store called ‘Coming Up Roses’ which is already proving to be a another one of Hayley’s business successes.

Author: On 1 April 2011, Hayley launched her first book, Dream Believe, Create: A Woman;s Guide to Small Business, published by Harper Collins.


Talking Points