Born in Perth, Australia, in 1961, Shelley Taylor-Smith was so passionate about swimming that she would sneak off to bed each night in her bathers. Not overly talented and diagnosed with crippling scoliosis, her determination overruled what her doctors predicted and her swimming took off to heights which no one but herself anticipated.
Her introduction to marathon swimming began at the University of Arkansas in 1983. Her first professional race was in 1985 and by 1998, she retired as a seven-time World Marathon Swimming Champion.
In 1991, she was the only woman of any sport, world wide, to hold the world’s No. 1 ranking for both men and women. For seven consecutive years from 1988-1995, she was ranked as the No. 1 World Marathon Swimming Champion in races ranging from 30 to 90 kilometers. She set 15 world race records, scored 51 first-place finishes in international marathon swims, set the record for the around Manhattan Island Swim, and swam the English Channel.
Taylor-Smith had become one of the world’s most coveted female marathon swimmers. From athlete to contributor, she has served as Honorary Secretary for the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee since 2000. She was instrumental in the IOC’s decision to include the 10 kilometer swim in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and was a FINA Athlete Representative for 12 years.
As Director and founder of Champion Mindset Consulting, she is a motivational teacher, a mental toughness coach, and an international best selling author.