RMIT students and alumni have taken out medals of every colour at the Rio Paralympic Games.
Swimmer Ashleigh McConnell anchored the women’s 4x100m 34 point freestyle relay team, which set a new world record.
It was back-to-back titles for Australia in the event and McConnell’s first medal of the Games.
A Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holder, business student McConnell is coached by Alex Hirschauer and Brad Harris.
She trains six days per week alongside her best friend and driving instructor, Monique Murphy.
Murphy, an RMIT social work student, claimed an individual silver medal in the women’s 400m freestyle.
Before heading to Rio, Murphy told the media that swimming became her lifeline after an accident that changed her life two years ago when she fell 20m from a balcony.
The fall left her with multiple injuries and resulted in the amputation of her right leg below the knee.
Alumnus Jess Gallagher became the first Australian athlete to win medals at the Summer and Winter Paralympics or Olympics when she won the bronze medal for the women’s B/VI 1000m time trial with her tandem track cycling partner Madison Janssen.
After her win, Gallagher posted on Instagram about what an honour it was for her to wear the green and gold.
“I am so incredibly proud to have fulfilled this dream, to have overcome the unique challenges I've faced in transitioning between alpine skiing, track cycling and athletics, the ups and downs along the way and the incredible people who have been a part of this journey in helping me achieve this,” she said.
Gallagher and Janssen’s games preparations included working with RMIT’s expert sports engineers in the University’s Bundoora East industrial wind tunnel.
Story: Louise Handran