Mary Fisher has retired from swimming competitively. The athlete, who is blind, won gold at the London 2012 Paralympics but now she’s hung up her towel and joined our Community and Life Enrichment team as Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator in Wellington.

She talks to us about her change in lifestyle and her motivations for working here.

How are you enjoying the role so far?

I’m enjoying the dynamic nature of meeting people from all walks of life and learning how recreation activities might be adapted with for someone with vision loss. I’m also loving the atmosphere of the Wellington office and the generous caring souls who work, volunteer and visit there.

What motivated you to apply for the role?

The positive ways the Blind Foundation helped me as a child and young person were significant in my life. It’s great to be in a different role, hopefully helping enable that for others.

Could you tell us the reasons behind the decision to retire, and how the transition has been so far?

I’ve formally stepped away from competing in swimming after 16yrs. It’s a big change to lifestyle, identity and the structure of my days. Now is the right time because you have to want to be the best in the world 100% of the time to do well and after achieving more than I ever thought possible in the pool, the racing desire has simmered down.

I still have a strong pull to spend time in the water – so I’ll continue swimming a few times a week in my local pool and hopefully get into Aotearoa’s lakes, rivers and oceans over summer!

How is your knowledge and experience of the sporting world complementing your role here?

I think being an active listener is a skill that is transferrable as well as persistence and working as a team (even though swimming is an individual sport it is definitely a team effort).