Dolphins swim star Mollie O’Callaghan back among her school mates

Screenshot_1Five-time gold medal winning swimming star Mollie O’Callaghan returned to her school yesterday to a hero’s welcome after a near flawless performance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

O’Callaghan, 18, and fellow Dolphins team member and school mate, Ella Ramsay, 18, were greeted by a ticker-tape parade and wild cheering upon their return to St Peters Lutheran College Springfield.

Also attending the QGSSSA power school’s welcome home parade was high jumper Toby Stolzberg, 16, who finished eighth at the world junior championships.

O’Callaghan, from Dean Boxall’s St Peters Western Swim Club stable, had an extraordinary seven Commonwealth Games and six World Swimming Championship medals draped around her neck.


Indeed O’Callaghan was adorned with so many medals, she counted them like money as she pulled them from her bag, careful not to forget any for her victory lap among her mates.

“The support over the last few years from the school has been incredible,’’ O’Callaghan said.

“They have supported us very well and worked around our swimming careers and it is nice to be finally back wearing the green and gold and having achieved to much in a short period of time.’’

All of O’Callaghan’s 13 medals sparkled in the winter morning sunshine, but two glistened slightly more than the others – her treasured 100m freestyle individual medals from both the world titles and the Commonwealth Games.

Twelve months ago O’Callaghan walked the same victory parade at her school with three Olympic Games medals – but they were all relay medals.

This time she had her own 100m freestyle medals to enjoy.

“This time last year I never thought I would win any individual medals for the worlds or the Commonwealth Games,’’ O’Callaghan said.

“But it is nice to finally think I earned these medals, to finally think I am a part of the team and that I earned my spot.’’

O’Callgahan was a member of the world record breaking 4x200m freestyle relay team.


Both O’Callaghan and Ramsay thanked the school community for its support, which included being chauffeured up to 75km a day, too and from their Springfield campus to St Peters’ swimming headquarters at the college’s Indooroopilly campus.

“That was a big help, especially the bus in the afternoon. It helped so much, especially for our parents,’’ O’Callaghan said.

Ramsay, who was on her first senior Australian team tour of duty, lapped up the moment.

“It is really nice to be back with friends and family and my school teachers who have obviously helped me heaps while I have been away,’’ Ramsay said.

“They helped me get my school work mostly done before I went away and not have the pressure of grade 12 while I was over there,’’ Ramsay said.

Ramsay said to achieve her goal of representing Australia while still at school and sharing that with her friends was amazing.

Ramsay, whose father Heath was a 2020 Sydney Olympian, said she did not have a lot of pressure on her in her 200 Individual Medley events and it was a great learning experience.

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“I watched the older, more professional athletes. I watched what they did and learned from them,’’ Ramsay said.

St Peters Lutheran College Springfield campus also recognised a third international athlete, high jumper Toby Stolzberg, 16, who finished eighth at the world junior championships.

“It is overwhelming all the support I have received, and it is great having such a supportive school to celebrate your achievements,’’ she said.

“I remember a couple of years ago watching Mollie (O’Callaghan) walk through the guard of honour and my teachers were saying “that’s going to be you one day’’. It is very exciting to be back.’’

She said it was a wonderful experience and made her hungry to go even better at the next world juniors when she will be aged 18.

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