Petria Thomas is one of Australia’s true Olympic champions. At the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Petria won three gold medals and one sliver medal. This performance made her the best-performed athlete of the Australian Team and second best performed athlete of the entire Games behind Michael Phelps of the USA.
Petria Thomas won gold in the relays of the 4 x 100 Freestyle and 4 x 100 Medley and an individual gold in the 100m Butterfly. Her silver medal performance was in the 200m Butterfly. At the Closing Ceremony, Petria was selected as Australia’s flag bearer, an honour bestowed on the countries best-performed athlete by the Team Chief De Mission, rewarded this performance.
Born in Lismore, Petria Thomas was brought up in Mullumbimby NSW, where she was named Country Lifesaver of the National Titles in 1992 at age sixteen. She is a life member of the Brunswick Surf Lifesaving Club and has been honoured by the town by having the local 50m pool named after her.
Since 1993, Petria Thomas has lived in Canberra, where she was awarded the ‘Keys to the City’ by the Canberra public for her Olympic achievements. She has a Bachelors Degree in Sports Administration from the University of Canberra.
In 2002 at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Petria Thomas won five gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, and set a new record in becoming the first female ever to win the same event, the 100m Butterfly, at three consecutive Commonwealth Games. She also set new Commonwealth and Australian records in the 50m Butterfly and a new Games record in the 100m Butterfly. Shortly after this, she won three gold medals and two silver medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in Yokohama, Japan.
By the end of 2002, Petria Thomas was the most decorated female Australian swimmer in International Competition. She amassed eight gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze from fourteen international events.
In 2003, while competing in the National Championships and winning the 100m and 50m Butterfly events, Petria Thomas was forced to withdraw from World Championship selection due to a shoulder injury.
After undergoing her third shoulder reconstruction, Petria Thomas returned to competition in early 2004, where at the European World Cup she broke the 50m short course Commonwealth record twice.
In March 2004, Petria Thomas made her third Olympic team, winning all butterfly events at the National Championships and Selection Trials. She set a new Commonwealth Record in both the 50m and 100m Butterfly and achieved a personal best in the 200m Butterfly fly.
Announcing her retirement from swimming at the 2004 Olympic Games, Petria Thomas is looking forward to embarking on the next chapter in her life.