Melanie Wright (Schlanger)
At Schlanger’s first Olympics in 2008 Australia was the defending champion in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Alice Mills and Libby Trickett were members of the Athens 2004 squad. In the final, the quartet was languishing in equal last place at the halfway mark. An excellent third leg by Melanie Schlanger put the team into third position but a fast anchor leg of 52.34 seconds by Trickett could not bridge the gap to the leaders, Holland and the United States.
Schlanger picked up her second relay medal at Beijing 2008, this time gold as a heat swimmer for the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. She teamed with Felicity Galvez, Angie Bainbridge and Lara Davenport to qualify Australia sixth fastest. In the final the new Australian quartet was Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda MacKenzie took home the gold medal and shattered the world record by six seconds.
Schlanger walked away from swimming in 2010 after a long bout of glandular fever and illness saw her unable to stay healthy enough to train with the intensity required to achieve competitive results. After 10 months out of the pool however, she got back into swimming for fitness and fell in love with the sport again.
She went on to win the 2012 National title in the 100m freestyle and finished 3rd in the 200m freestyle as she secured her spot on her second Olympic Team.
Her comeback to the sport was vindicated as she was a part of the Australian 4 x 100m freestyle relay team that claimed gold ahead of Holland and the USA on the opening night of competition at the London Olympics. Along with teammates Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell and Brittany Elmslie, and, the team set a new Olympic record on their way to the gold medal with Schlanger swimming the anchor. This relay gold would be Australia’s only first place finish in the pool at the London Games.She won her fourth Olympic medal in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay as the team of Schlanger, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Alicia Coutts finished 1.49 seconds behind the USA. The comeback queen almost added another medal to her haul as she finished 4th in the 100m freestyle, just 0.03 off the bronze.