Holly Lincoln-Smith got involved with water polo when she was inspired at the age of 13 by her high school teacher- 2000 Olympic water polo gold medallist Debbie Watson. She competed in her first major senior international tournament in 2009 at the World Championships in Rome before having to get shoulder surgery which kept her out of the pool. In 2010 she was a part of the Australian team that won silver in the FINA World Cup held in Auckland.
Lincoln-Smith went on to make her Olympic debut at the London Games. The Australians opened their campaign with three victories to top their group in the preliminary rounds before beating China in a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final. The Aussie Stingers were involved in another extra-time thriller in the semi-final, but their long-time American rivals came out on top 11-9. The Australians went on to beat Hungary 13-11 to take home the bronze medal.
In making the Olympic Team, Holly and sister, Emma became the first siblings to compete at a Summer and Winter Olympics for Australia. Emma competed in the skeleton at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where she came 10th, the best ever result for an Australian.