|Full name||Sarah Michelle Ryan|
February 20, 1977 |
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||65 kg (143 lb)|
Sarah Michelle Ryan OAM (born 20 February 1977) is a former Australian sprint freestyle swimmer, who won relay medals at three consecutive Olympics from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to the 2004 Athens Olympics, but who was perhaps best known in Australia for her colourful long fingernails.
Coming from Adelaide, South Australia, Ryan attended the Catholic Mount Carmel College, before moving to the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra in 1993 after being awarded a scholarship. She gained selection for Australia the following year at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.
In 1996, in Atlanta, she came sixth in the 100 m freestyle, and was a member of the 4x100 m medley relay along with Susie O'Neill, Samantha Riley and Nicole Stevenson which claimed silver behind the United States. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she was a part of the team which won the 4x100 m freestyle relay only days after the death of her father.
In 2000, in Sydney, Ryan failed to qualify for the finals of either the 50 m or 100 m freestyle. She was a member of the 4x100 m freestyle relay which placed sixth and collected a silver for swimming in the heats of the 4x100 m medley relay, being replaced by O'Neill in the final, again second to the Americans.
In 2001, possibly her most savoured moment came at the FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, when she anchored the 4x100 m medley relay team with Dyana Calub, Leisel Jones and Petria Thomas to a long-awaited win over the United States. It was the first time that Australia had defeated the Americans at either Olympic or World level in the event. 2002 broke another drought, with Ryan being part of a 4x100 m freestyle team alongside Jodie Henry, Alice Mills and Thomas which defeated the Americans for the first time since 1956.
In 2003, Ryan retired and commenced a job as a breakfast radio presenter, as well as an occasional swimming analyst on SBS' Toyota World Sports and Channel Nine's Wide World of Sports. However, with Australia's young sprinting talent on the rise, she made a comeback to qualify for the 4x100 m freestyle relay team for the Athens Olympics. Ryan swam in the heats, but was replaced in the final by Thomas, who combined with Henry, Mills and Libby Lenton to claim gold in a world record time of 3min 35.94s. Ryan retired after the games.
In 2006, to support Multiple Sclerosis research, Ryan teamed up with 2003 Australian Idol winner and award-winning recording artist Guy Sebastian in 7 Network's It Takes Two, in which famous accomplished Australians from their different fields, and not known to be singers, performed duets with professional vocalists to support their chosen charity. Ryan and Sebastian were the last team to be eliminated, making them the runners-up in the competition.
As of May 2009 Sarah Ryan started working for the YMCA of Sydney at Mount Annan Leisure Centre as a Learn-to-swim teacher and swim coach.
Sarah now works for South Western Sydney Medicare Local in Community Engagement