Where Are They Now? Five members of the Sydney 2000 Aussie Swim Team Trip Down Memory Lane

THE WAY THEY WERE: Two members of our featured flashback five Elli Overton (right of Ian Thorpe) and Clementine Stoney (dark hair) behind Ian as the Aussies sing loud and proud on the pooldeck in 2000. Photo Courtesy: News Ltd.

Five members of the Australian Swim Team In Sydney 2000 Slip Down Memory Lane To Tell Us What They Are Up To Now

For the Australian Swim Team and so many members of the 2000 Olympic team, Sydney was a dream come true and will be remembered as “The Time Of Their Lives” – a home Games seven years in the making after the Harbour City was awarded the Games in 1993.

There has been a lot of water flow under Sydney’s famous Harbour Bridge since that classic opening day on September 15, 2000  as the curtain falls today on two weeks of memories, reflections and celebrations.

Much has been written about the performances and the fun of a Games that will go down in history as “the best Games ever” – there were cheers and tears and even a few beers.

And towards the end of the 20th anniversary celebrations, Swimming World has tracked down five members of the Australian Swim Team, to reminisce on their dream Games and take a trip down memory lane and also to find out what they have been up to since those heady days of Sydney 2000 and their favourite moments of Australia’s second home Olympics.

PETRIA THOMAS, born in Lismore in country NSW,  was 25 in Sydney – her second Games after Atlanta and collected individual bronze in the 200m butterfly and silvers in the 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle relays. Petria went on to win three gold and a silver in Athens in 2004, taking her Olympic medal tally to eight (three gold, four silver and one bronze) – one of Australia’s most celebrated Olympians of all time.

Lives: Amaroo, Canberra ACT


HARBOURSIDE IN SYDNEY: One of Australia’s greatest Olympians Petria Thomas with husband Julian  Jones, daughter Zara 11 and son Aiden, 14. Photo Courtesy: Petria Thomas Family Collection.

Married to: Husband Julian (for 19 years) and the couple have two children Aiden, 14 and Zara 11.

Life after swimming: “I am the Manager of High Performance at Gymnastics Australia and so proud to have been appointed as Chef de Mission of the Australian Commonwealth Games Team for Birmingham 2022.

I am also a Member of the Sport Integrity Australia Athlete Advisory Group.

Memories of Sydney: “My favourite personal moment of the Sydney 2000 Games was walking out on to pool deck for my first final and hearing the roar of the parochial home crowd. “It gave me the goose bumps! The main stand at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre was so high you could barely see to the top of the stands! While one of my fondest memories from the Games was watching the Australian Women’s Water Polo team win the gold medal with a last second goal. The atmosphere was absolutely electric!”

ELLI OVERTON, born in Vancouver, was 26 in Sydney, her third and final Olympics after Barcelona and Atlanta and was semi-finalist in the 200IM, retiring to return to the US after a stunning career under coach and 1956 Olympian Gary Winram.

Now Lives: Austin, Texas, USA (since 2001) after attending Cal Berkeley and spent three years in France between 2004 and 2007,

Elli Overton Family

FAMILY TIME: Elli Overton with husband Leif Anders step-daughter Kaysa 17 and  sons from her first marriage, Max, almost 15 and Finn 12. Photo Courtesy: Elli Overton Family Collection.

Married to: Leif Anders. Has two sons from her previous marriage, Max, almost 15 and Finn 12 and a step-daughter Kaysa 17.

Life after swimming: “I am the Director of Sales and Marketing for SwimTopia – a company that manufactures swim team and swim meet management software. I’ve worked with SwimTopia full time for five years. Before that I was a sales rep for SwimTopia while I also coached Summer League Swimming and ran a private lesson business for three years. In 2014 I swam in the US Masters Swimming Nationals and won the 100 and 200 IMs in the 40-44 years age group. I hung up my racing togs again immediately afterwards. Let’s say, I didn’t re-catch the bug. That 200 IM was extremely painful!

Memories of Sydney: “I’d have to say a combo between watching the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay win, and watching Susie O’Neill win the 200m freestyle…and I was SO stoked to be able to march in the Opening Ceremony at the Sydney Games after missing Atlanta’s because I swam the first day. Being a Sydney girl it was So special to hear the home crowd roar when we walked in and to watch Cathy Freeman light the flame.”

Josh Watson and wife Tess

GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS: Josh Watson and wife Tess who are expecting the couple’s first child in January 2021. Photo Courtesy: Josh Watson Ciollection.

JOSH WATSON, born in Newcastle, NSW, who was aged 23 in Sydney and at his first and only Olympics finished fourth in the final of the 100m backstroke, which saw fellow Australian Matt Welsh win the silver behind the great Lenny Krazelburg from the USA.Silver medallist 4x100m medley relay.

 Lives: In the 1996 Olympic city of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Married to: Wife, Tess for three years and the couple are expecting their first baby, due in January, 2021

Josh Watson

REMEMBERING SYDNEY: Josh Watson, who grew up on the NSW North Coast and swam at Kingscliff, has now settled into life in Atlanta. Photo Courtesy: Josh Watson Collection.

Life after swimming: “I work for Sting Sports, an Australian boxing equipment company that was looking to expand globally. We sponsor the US Olympic Boxing team so when the opportunity came to move to the US I jumped at the chance. As mad as it’s been this year, it has been an incredible time and we’ve met some wonderful people.

“I am also the founder of Atomic Athletes launching Oct 2021 – an athlete mentorship program where athletes come to learn high performance principles individually and in community. Delivered digitally, athletes from all around the world, from a variety of sports and at different levels come together to absorb high performance content from a range of topics and presenters and to challenge each other in a way that will transform both their sporting careers and their personal growth.”

Memories of Sydney: “My favourite Sydney moment was walking out onto pool deck for each of my races and the noise of the crowd, while my favourite Sydney Games moment was when my Dad picked me up from the Athletes Village to take me home. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Olympic torch. I was trying to watch it through all the buildings and trees. I didn’t want it to disappear from view and when it did I actually cried for what I had just been a part of…an amazing time of my life.”

Clem and husband

PEACE DE RESISTANCE: Clementine Stoney with husband Mark Maconachie. Photo Courtesy: Clementine Stoney Collection.

CLEMENTINE STONEY, born in the NSW country town of Albury and was just 18 in Sydney at her first and only Games and finished 13th in the 200m backstroke. A former world record holder in the 200m backstroke short course.

Now Lives in: Sydney since 2003.

Married to: Mark Maconachie, a barrister and the couple have three children Maximilla 8 and twins Hendrix 6 and Matisse 6.


ART COLLECTION: Clementine Stoney surrounded by her art pieces. Photo Courtesy Clementine Stoney Collection.

Life after swimming: “After retiring from swimming due to illness in 2003, I worked in fashion for eight years or so becoming the Visual Creative at Sass & Bide and in 2008 I fell in love and Mark and I married in 2008 and we now have three georgeous kids. I started my own business two years ago and I am the founder and creative director of The Visuals Boutique Design Agency – specialising in furniture design; designed and made in Sydney (products available in Vela) and also do event decoration, window display, sculpture and custom furniture pieces. With COVID the art has become the main focus for now and is going well. I love my Sydney Swans AFL team, I love Formula One and I LOVE my family!

Clem Stoney's kids

“HEY MUM…LOOK AT ME.. AND ME.. AND ME” The loves of Clementine Stoney’s life, Maximilla (centre) and twins Hendrix (left) and Matisse. Photo Courtesy: Clementine Stoney Collection.

Memories of Sydney: “Being in the tunnel before walking out to the Main Stadium of the Opening Ceremony. A very hard to describe totally magic moment while my favourite Games moment had to be the boys 4x 100 freestyle relay, amongst so many special races and moments, like watching Cathy Freeman in the 400m was pretty special. Also our girls Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst winning the beach volleyball gold was a pretty epic atmosphere at Bondi Beach.

RACHEL HARRIS, one of four Western Australians on the Sydney team, was born in Perth and was just 21 in Sydney for her first and only Olympics where the Commonwealth Games champion finished 12th in both the 800m freestyle and 400IM.

Still Lives in: Trigg, WA.

Married to: Ric and the couple have a daughter, Poppy 18 months.

Rachel Harris, Ric and Poppy

LIFE’S A BALL: Rachael Harris with husband Ric and baby Poppy at the Water Polo World Championships in Gwangju. Photo Courtesy: Rachel Harris Family Collection.

Life after swimming: “I am a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician and my roles include Chief Medical Officer for Paralympics Australia; Water Polo Australia and I am the Project Lead for the AIS Female Athlete Performance and Health Project.

Memories of Sydney: Realising that the dream had come true! And being in Sydney for a home Games and being so proud to be an Australian, no matter where you were or how well you did.”

EDITOR’S FOOTNOTE: Ian Hanson was the Australian Swim Team Media Manager of the Sydney Olympics, who is married to Suzie (45 years) and the couple live on the Queensland Gold Coast and have four children and six grandchildren. Their eldest daughter Brooke Hanson was a member of the Athens Olympic Swim Team in 2004, winning gold and silver medals.


GAMES OVER: Ian Hanson pictured here with a group of Bondi Lifesavers at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremony. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media Collection.

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