Speakers Profile - Marieke Guehrer

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At 23, Marieke Guehrer is a stunning combination of brains, beauty and athletic talent. Marieke is smart and motivated, currently studying Arts and Media at Melbourne Uni and has her own swimwear fashion range.

Marieke has appeared regularly on television - her most recent TV credits include an extensive interview for the Channel 9 broadcast documentary, Road to Rome. Marieke is a world-class athlete and is one of the fastest female swimmers in the world.

Marieke grew up on the Gold Coast and started swimming with Miami Swimming Club under Denis Cotterell at age 9.

When her family moved to Brisbane at age 13, she was given the opportunity to swim alongside her role models Susie O'Neill and Samantha Reilly leading into the Sydney Olympics, under the guidance of Scott Volkers. Scott's assistant coach, Stephan Widmer, took over the squad upon Scott's retirement and guided Marieke through the age group ranks and onto her first national team in 2004 for the Athens Olympics.

At the National Short Course titles in 2008, Marieke won three gold and a bronze, also qualifying her to compete at the FINA World Cup Series. The World Cup Series was a fairytale for Marieke, for as the series progressed, so did she in both times and winnings. Leading the series from start to finish, Marieke was only challenged in the last event of the series in Berlin by Therese Alshammar, the former World Cup champion, when it came down to the very last race of the series - the 50m butterfly. Both girls had much resting on this race, for the winner would come away with US$100,000; fifty thousand more than second-place would receive. Marieke was able to lift to the occasion, winning the race in a world-record time more than 0.3seconds faster than the previous mark.

In July Marieke contested her first World Swimming Championships in Rome, Italy. Marieke came away with a surprise gold medal in the 50m butterfly, lowering her own Commonwealth record in the process. Marieke was also a part of the bronze medal-winning 4x100m women's freestyle relay team. In addition, Marieke swam the individual 100m freestyle placing 14th overall and swimming her own personal best time.

The Australian National Titles (World Champs Trials) was the first major event of the 2009 season, and an event that Marieke excelled at. She won the 50m butterfly for the second year in a row, breaking her own Commonwealth Record in the process. Her time of 25.60 put her in the books as third fastest all-time for that event. Her greatest achievement at the trials, however, was swimming a huge personal best time of 54.28 in the final of the 100m freestyle to qualify her for a second swim in Rome in the 100m free, as well as onto the 4x100m freestyle relay at the World Championships. Marieke also came away with a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle behind world record holder Libby Trickett and Olympic medalist Cate Campbell. In the fastest 100m butterfly final in Australian history, Marieke came out 5th with a PB time of 58.08.