Australian Dolphin Johanna Griggs has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for significant service to community health, to television and to sport.
After making her first Australian team in 1989 to compete at the Pan Pacific Championships, Griggs went on to qualify for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland and proudly returned home with a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke.
A year later, she also competed at the 1991 World Championships in Perth where she won a silver medal as part of the 4x100m relay team. Since retiring from swimming in 1993, Griggs has been a regular face in households around Australia, working for the Seven network and hosting a variety of shows from Australia’s Olympic coverage and Sportsworld, to the long-running, Better Homes and Gardens. She has also been a Board member at Beyond Blue since 2014 and is the Chair of Be You National Advisory Council.
One of Griggs’ teammates at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, Dr Jennifer McMahon, also received Queen’s Birthday Honours, awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to education and to sport. Now a Senior Lecturer in Education - Curriculum and Pedagogy, McMahon not only competed at the Commonwealth Games, but also at World Championships and World Cups between 1990 and 1993. Claiming a gold medal and setting a Commonwealth Record in the 4x200m freestyle relay during the 1990 Games, McMahon also won an individual silver medal in the 200m freestyle.
Along with Griggs and McMahon, four more members of the swimming tribe received honours on Australia Day. They include:
Susan Margaret Cure OAM, TAS:
Cure received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to swimming. A former competitor and Life Member of the Sandy Bay Swimming Club, Cure is the current President of Swimming Tasmania and State Meet Director, having held the roles since 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Suzanne Bergersen OAM, NSW:
Bergersen received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to swimming. Since 1993 she been a technical official for both pool and open water events, was on the Board of Swimming NSW from 2001-2018 and was made a life member of the state body in 2018.
Thelma June Bryan OAM, QLD:
Bryan received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to swimming. A passionate volunteer and swimmer, Bryan was a founding member of the Cairns Mudcrabs Maters Swimming Club in 1982. Her achievements in the pool include setting more than 60 national and 300 state records in her age group since 1983. And being in the world top 10 for the 400m individual medley, 50m freestyle, 100m and 200m butterfly.
Andrea Joy McNeil OAM, VIC:
McNeil received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to swimming. As a founding member of the Malvern Marlins Masters Swimming Club, McNeil has held a variety of roles at the club including President, Treasurer, Director of Coaching and Club Historian – just to name a few! Amassing a number of awards over her time in swimming, McNeil won the 2004 Victorian Coach of the Year from Masters Swimming Victoria.
Glenise Gale OAM, TAS:
Gale received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to swimming. A member of Swimming Tasmania for 60 years and the sister of Susan Cure, Gale had a successful amateur swimming career with multiple national gold medals as a junior and later, became a prolific winner at Masters Games level. She is a Board member of Swimming Tasmania, as well as being technical official and chair of selection and competition committees.
Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell congratulated all the award winners.
“I’d like to congratulate all members of our swimming tribe who received Queen’s Birthday Honours this year – it’s a remarkable achievement and thoroughly well deserved,” Russell said.
“Our swimming community consists of so many incredible Australians including thousands of volunteers and recreational swimmers and they truly are the lifeblood of our sport. I’m delighted these members of our tribe are being recognised along with our decorated elite athletes.
"On behalf of Swimming Australia I’d like to thank Jo, Jennifer, Susan, Suzanne, Thelma, Andrea and Glenise for their significant commitment to swimming in this country.”
Photo: Courtesy of Channel Seven