Present Olympics Athletes >> Stephanie Rice
- Date of birth
- World records
2 (200m medley, 400m medley) - up to 25/03/2008
World Championships (2 medals - 2 bronze)
- 200m medley : 3rd (2007)
- 400m medley : 3rd (2007)
Commonwealth Games (2 medals - 2 gold)
- 200m medley : 1st (2006)
- 400m medley : 1st (2006)
Rice's record medley sensation
At the Australian Olympic qualifiers, Stephanie Rice set world records in the 200m and 400m medleys and the fact she is also a beauty and the girlfriend of another rising star Eamon Sullivan, made her an overnight media sensation.
Going into the qualifiers with bronze medals from the 2007 worlds over both distances, Rice was part of the Speedo sensation. That is to say she was wearing the new outfit, the LZR bodysuit, by the Australian swimwear company that has come under scrutiny due to a tidal wave of world records set by swimmers wearing it.
On the opening night of the Australian Olympic swimming trials, Rice shaved 1.43 seconds off American Katie Hoff's previous 400m medley world record of 4min 32.89sec, with a new time of 4min 31.46sec, or six seconds faster than her own previous best time.
Four days later Rice, then 19, erased swimming's second oldest long course world record from the books, adding the 200m individual medley mark to the tally in 2min 8.92sec, slicing 0.80 seconds off the previous world record held by China's Yan Yan Wu, set in Shanghai in 1997.
Rice thereby carved 2.5 seconds off her previous best time set at the 2007 Melbourne world championships and established herself - the reigning Commonwealth champion in both events - as the swimmer to beat in both races at the August-held Beijing Olympics.
Level-headed party girl
Her chief rivals in China should be double world champion Hoff and Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry in the 200m medley and Hoff and Russia's Yana Martinova in the 400m medley. The Olympic champion over both distances at both Sydney and Athens, Ukraine's Yana Klochkova, still only 26, would appear to be out of the reckoning.
Born in Queensland June 17, 1988 and trained by Michael Bol at the St Peters Western Swimming Club, Rice is a fun loving and uninhibited youngster.
Facebook snaps of her have done the internet rounds. There's nothing any other 19-year-old would think abnormal there; a sexy fancy dress police woman's outfit, a bit of high camp and a few beers.
In fact Rice would seem to have what it takes to make it to the highest podium in Beijing. When her boyfriend Sullivan tried to get her to move to quit Brisbane for Perth, she put her foot down in favour of concentrating on her Olympic bid.
She simply explained that it was not the right time either to switch coaches or move house, something France's swim sensation Laure Manaudou might now reflect upon. The Games can't come soon enough with her in this electric form.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.