Revealed: Queensland’s top 10 school sportswomen
In the lead-up to the resumption of Queensland Girls' Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA) sport this Saturday, we celebrate the association by naming its greatest top 40 sportswomen.
Today, is the association's greatest, numbers 1-10.
The list is so imposing that Olympians like Deanna Lockett (speed skater), Rina Hill, Sue Lewis, Gemma Rooney, Emma Jackson and Maxine Seear narrowly miss the list.
And three prodigious QGSSSA modern day talents and future Olympians, Abby Andrews (Brisbane Girls Grammar School, water polo), swimmers Jenna Forrester and Mollie O'Callaghan (St Peters Lutheran College), and Lidiia Iakovleva (Moreton Bay College), who at 16 was the baby Rhythmic Gymnastics 2019 World Championships team, also missed.
Andrew Dawson will report on QGSSSA each Saturday online for The Courier-Mail and Quest Newspapers.
The St Peters Lutheran College alumni comes into the hotly contested top 10 on the strength of last year's remarkable defeat of USA swim great Katie Ledecky at the world championships. Titmus beat the five-time Olympic champion and world-record holder in the 400m freestyle, Ledecky's first loss on the international stage. A year earlier Titmus crashed into the lounge rooms of Australians with three gold medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, yet arguably the best swim of the meet by her was a silver medal winning effort in a hotly contested 200m. A young women with an amazing work ethic, Titmus thrives under the gruelling training regimen of her coach at St Peters Western, Dean Boxall. She enjoys the St Peters community and each QGSSSA swim meet she can be seen poolside, supporting her coaches and her younger training mates.
A St Margaret's Anglican Girls School student, in 2007 Barratt produced a eye-catching breakthrough performance when she broke the oldest record in Australian women's swimming - the great Tracey Wickham's 29-year-old record in the 400m freestyle record. Olympic Games selection (2008) quickly followed for this Albany Creek swim club rising star, and she was part of the women's 4×200m record breaking freestyle gold medal relay team. She sustained form at the highest level to, four years later at the London Olympics, Barratt's win a bronze medal in the women's 200m freestyle along with a silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay. After bronze medal winning efforts at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Barratt farewelled the Olympics (Rio, 2016) by helping Australia to silver medals in both the 200m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle.
A Moreton Bay College alumni, Parry was an elite rugby player at both the 15-a-side and seven-a-side games, rising to Olympic Games glory at the Rio Olympics. Co-captain of the sevens outfit, Parry was a key member in Australia's defeat of New Zealand to win the inaugural Olympic gold medal in the sport. But she was entrenched in the top national side long before that milestone moment, helping the Aussies to third place at the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup. In 2017 Parry was named captain of the Australian 15s team.
There are not too many Australian track athletes who had an Olympic gold medal to their name, but Croker was one of them. A Brisbane State High School past student, Crocker represented Australia at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne where she helped legends of the track, Shirley Strickland, Fleur Mellor and Betty Cuthbert, to the 4x100m relay gold medal.
Crocker, Queensland's first female gold medal winner, also did well in her individual 200m race, placing fourth. Croker pushed on to the 1960 Olympics where she represented Australia splendidly. In 2009 Croker was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. She passed away last year,
Caslick is a super star of women's rugby who was the pin-up girl of Australia's historic 2016 gold medal winning performance in seven-a-side rugby at the Olympic Games. The daughter of former Wests Panthers league player Don Caslick, Charlotte started in touch football when she arrived from Brisbane's western suburbs to attend Brisbane State High School. She had natural flair, displaying skills honed in her back yard with the help of her family. But Caslick also had a winner's work ethic and by Year 10 she was one of the outstanding opens touch football players. She then progressed to rugby and the rest is history. The winner of the 2019 Shawn Mackay Women's Sevens Player of the Year, Caslick was named in the World Series Dream Team for three straight seasons between 2014-16.
If you ever wanted someone to swim for your life, then I recommend you pick Hayley Lewis. A Brisbane State High School alumni, Lewis had a heart as big as Phar Lap and left nothing in the pool in training or in competition. The middle distance swimmer was in the water 45 minutes before the sprinters started training, and was still in the water when the sprinters were on their way for a hot shower and breakfast. Coached by the old school Joe King, Lewis tenaciously worked her way onto the scene as a 16-year-old to win five gold medals and a bronze medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. It was a remarkable performance. The finest swimmer in the Commonwealth, Lewis then went after the biggest guns in the world, becoming world champion (200m freestyle) in 1991. She also claimed silver in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 400m individual medley, and also a bronze in the 200m butterfly at the '91 world title in Perth. The following year at the Barcelona Olympics, Lewis gave her all in the 400m freestyle and gruelling 400m IM events to finish with silver medals, along with a 200m IM bronze medal.
No. 4 STEPHANIE RICE
A Clayfield College alumni, Rice seemed like a bit of a party girl to outsiders looking in, but when she was in training, she had the work ethic of a champion and that was mirrored by her world class performances. A medley specialist, by gee she earned the right to be called an Olympic champion and her three gold medal efforts at the 2008 Games were rewards for her sacrifices. A big occasion swimmer, Rice came back from shoulder surgery to make the 2012 Olympics where she performed powerfully, making the finals in the 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley.
LIBBY TRICKETT (nee Lenton)
The winner of seven Olympic medals, including four gold medals, Trickett was part of Australia's greatest ever era of freestyle sprinters. Yet ironically her first Olympic gold medal came in the butterfly. Coached by Stephan Widmer at the Valley Pool-based Commercial club, Trickett rose to become the 100m freestyle world record holder. She had a beautiful big smile, but not when Widmer had her in heavy training. If you walked into the Valley pool for a dip and peered across at his squad, you would see Trickett's shoulders bright red with lactic acid. But Trickett was prepared to wear the pain for the rewards of gain. Trickett had a tireless work ethic which helped carry her to an extraordinary eight world championship gold medals at the peak of her powers between 2005 and 2007. The Somerville House alumni is one of the greats of Australian sport.
On the strength of longevity, Seebohm pips Stephanie Rice, Libby Trickett and Hayley Lewis to the No. 2 position - but only just. Trickett, Rice and Lewis could be better swimmers, but Seebohm was on the Olympic or world championship podium for a remarkable 11 years between 2007 and 2018. The winner of two Olympic gold medals and five world championship gold medals, the Matt Brown then David Lush-coached Seebohm was the backbone of the women's swimming team for more than a decade. A past student of St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, Seebohm was a true champion.
A legend who has a sporting house named in her honour at St Peters Lutheran College, Shane
Gould is one of Australia's greatest ever sports - of any discipline. Remarkably, she held every world freestyle record from 100m to 1500m, and the 200m individual medley as well. She was also the first female swimmer to win three Olympic gold medals in world record time and the first swimmer, male or female, to win Olympic medals in five individual events in a single Olympics. But like a comet shooting across the sky, Gould's swimming was over as quickly as she started, and she disappeared into retirement. She did, however, leave an indelible mark.
Originally published as Revealed: Queensland's top 10 school sportswomen