Hi, I’m Lex. I’m an Aussie who swims (pretty much just Freestyle) with the MAC.
Growing up in Australia we spent a lot of time in the water. My older sister, younger brother and I swam a couple of times a week with our local swim club run by Forbes & Ursula Carlisle. While I wasn’t terrible, I was definitely the kid who fixed my goggles every other lap, always got out early and did pretty much everything I could to avoid actually swimming.
I started playing waterpolo for my high school. Then some girls from school were playing for a local club, so I did that too. I was small, but I was fast and at some point, I started making district teams, then regional ones, then state ones, then some national ones. I changed clubs and started playing first grade for the Balmain Tigers in 1999 (The Australian National League at that time was only for men…). I was 15 and we had this amazing home pool Dawny (Dawn Fraser Baths in Sydney Harbor). It had a big sundeck, bar, BBQ, some jelly fish and a couple of baby stingrays. We’d play our game, put bikinis on and have a drink and a double banger sanga while watching the men’s game, then hang out until the sun went down. It was a very nice way to spend summer, so that’s pretty much what I did through my teens and my first two years at University.
In 2005-2007 I unexpectedly stumbled upon the opportunity to play NCAA Div 1 polo for San Jose State, and at US Summer Nationals for Stanford. So I packed my bags and moved to California for a couple of seasons, before heading home to start a career in advertising (and to play a couple more years in the Australian National Water Polo League, which was now also for women).
I didn’t know Masters Swimming was a thing until I moved to London for work and joined a water polo team, London Otter, who were part of a Masters swimming club. I trained with the Otter Masters swimming team to keep fit for polo for a couple of years before finally doing some free relays at a meet. Which turned into swimming the 50, 100 free at British Short Course Nationals. Then the 200 free. Then the 400 when Long Course season rolled around. Then an 800 the year after. It took a while to sink in, but I realised that I was enjoying swimming more than polo. Having never really swam competitively, it was fun to be getting better at something again. I loved competing and as an introvert, it was nice to not have to be ON all the time at swimming. I found going swimming gave me energy rather than draining me, and was oddly calming.
At the end of 2017, work brought me to Portland. I’d been working at Wieden + Kennedy in London, and came to Portland because that’s where our global head office is. I joined the MAC and thought there is no way I’ll like these people as much as my team in London. But as it turns out they are a pretty excellent bunch, who push me and make me laugh and make me better.
This year I swam for Oregon at my first and second US Masters Nationals. While I definitely don’t know the whole Oregon Masters team yet (I’m kind of a slow burn) I feel very lucky to have once again stumbled into such an amazing community full of wonderfully competitive, encouraging, supportive people.
Thank you all for all that you do: and for letting me be part of it.