As a four-year-old girl, Aussie swimmer Mel Schlanger planned to become a doctor. Thirty years and two Olympic gold medals later, she’s achieved her dream.
“I still can’t believe it – I’m a doctor of medicine!” Mel, now 34, tells Woman’s Day just days after completing her studies at Queensland’s Bond University.
“When I heard my name [called out] it was as surreal as standing on the podium in London after winning an Olympic gold medal.”
Front row at her graduation were her biggest supporters, her husband of six years and former Olympic teammate Chris Wright, 33, and their two beautiful children, Maddison, three, and Thomas, one.
“I get asked how did Chris and I juggle two kids with me studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies and a Doctor of Medicine, while he was a full-time swim coach,” says Mel. “You just have to be organised. Our secret weapon has always been our extended families and friends, who really stepped up.
“I retired from professional swimming in 2016, and two months later I started my degree. I was pregnant within months and struggled with the worst morning sickness. Maddie was born in February 2017, and often Chris or my mum would bring her to the uni and I would breastfeed her in between lectures – we got there in the end!”
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