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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Mary Fisher of New Zealand competes in the Women's 100m Freestyle S11 final on day 8 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Mary Fisher

Swimming
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New Zealand’s Mary Fisher left it to her last possible opportunity to win gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, in the 200m individual medley SM11, the last race of the greatest ever Games.

After making her international debut in 2009 the impressive New Zealander moved through the rankings and began to medal at the Canada Cup in 2011 with a 50m butterfly silver medal.

The next year, she was stood atop the podium at the Aquatics Centre with a total of four medals and one world record.

Born with a condition called aniridia, which means she has no irises in her eyes, Fisher was only able to distinguish colours as a child and her sight has steadily deteriorated.

Her hobbies include music, reading, tandem cycling and hiking in the New Zealand bush, and she has also taken up Para triathlon as a second sport.

Her performances in London propelled her to national fame, not least because she was amongst a clutch of athletes from the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be awarded the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Her notoriety did not stop there, with Fisher going on to win five individual gold medals at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada, the city where she won her first international medal back in 2009.

 

In 2015, she was named Swimmer of the Year with a Disability by Swimming New Zealand after winning three gold and two silver medals at the World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain.

 

With the women's S11 field deepening all the time, Fisher arrived in Rio with several young swimmers on her back. This included Dutch teenager Liesette Bruinsma, who had set new world records in six events in the months before the Paralympics.

 

Fisher saw off Bruinsma in the 100m backstroke, as well as Swedish rival Maja Reichard, to claim her second Paralympic title.

 

In 2017, Fisher will go for her latest world titles at the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City from 30 September.

 

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S11, SB11, SM11

Further personal information

Occupation
Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Psychology - Massey University: Wellington, NZL

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first raced in a primary school competition at age nine.
Why this sport?
"I was drawn to it because of the freedom I get from being able to do something completely independently. It’s also given me amazing opportunities to go overseas and meet new people."

International debut

Year
2009
Competing for
New Zealand
Location
Rio de Janeiro, BRA

General interest

Nicknames
Mez (Athlete, 04 Jan 2011)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning four medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (paralympics.org.nz, 2015)
Most influential person in career
Her parents. (Athlete, 04 Jan 2011)
Hero / Idol
US author Helen Keller, New Zealand Paralympic middle distance runner Tim Prendergast. (paralympic.org, 29 May 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The biggest thing is having confidence I can achieve my dreams." (nzherald.co.nz, 31 Dec 2012)
Awards and honours
In 2015 was named the Para-Swimmer of the Year by Swimming New Zealand. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 30 Sep 2015)

She was named the 2015 Swimmer of the Year and Para-Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Wellington in New Zealand. (wellington.swimming.org.nz, 2015)

She was named the 2014 Para-Sportsperson of the Year at the 2015 Halberg Awards in Auckland, New Zealand. (3news.co.nz, 12 Feb 2015)

She received the Attitude ACC Supreme Award at the 2014 Attitude Awards in Auckland. (scoop.co.nz, 04 Dec 2014)

She was named the 2013 Sportsperson of the Year in Wellington. (scoop.co.nz, 04 Dec 2014)

She received the New Zealand Order of Merit for her achievements at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (hawkesbaytoday.co.nz, 31 Dec 2012)
Other sports
She competed at the 2014 Para-Triathlon National Championships in New Zealand. (triathlon.org, 2015)
Impairment
She was born with a condition called aniridia, which means she has no irises in her eyes. She was able to distinguish colours as a child, but her sight has steadily deteriorated. (stuff.co.nz, 24 May 2013; 15 Sep 2012)
Other information
RETIREMENT
She retired from competitive swimming in November 2018. "London [2012 Paralympic Games] epitomised my childhood dream. Support from thousands got me there, especially my family and friends who I thank from the bottom of my heart. The privilege and honour of representing my country for over a decade isn't lost on me." (swimswam.com, 27 Nov 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2012-08-31 2
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2012-08-31 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2012-09-01 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2012-09-01 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Heat 2 2012-09-02 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Final Round 2012-09-02 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2012-09-07 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2012-09-07 4
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final Round 2012-09-08 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 3 2012-09-08 2
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Final 1 2013-08-12 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2013-08-13 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2013-08-13 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2013-08-14 2
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2013-08-15 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2013-08-15 1
Women's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final 1 2013-08-16 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final 1 2013-08-18 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2013-08-18 2
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2015-07-13 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2015-07-13 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2015-07-14 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Heat 2 2015-07-15 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Final 1 2015-07-15 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2015-07-16 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final 1 2015-07-16 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2015-07-17 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final 1 2015-07-18 5
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 2 2015-07-18 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2015-07-19 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Final Round 2016-09-09 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S11 Heat 2 2016-09-09 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2016-09-10 4
Women's 400 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2016-09-10 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2016-09-12 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 3 2016-09-12 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2016-09-15 3
Women's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2016-09-15 4
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final Round 2016-09-16 6
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 1 2016-09-16 3