The last defender
Rachael Lynch never takes her eye off the goal. She’s travelled the world as an elite athlete, met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry, and built a career as a nurse.
Few can stand their ground like Rachael Lynch. As goal keeper for the Hockeyroos, she’s the last defender on the field, and no stranger to diving in front of balls travelling at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.
Throw in a grueling training schedule, career, and international commitments, and it’s easy to see just how hard she works.
“Playing hockey at the elite level is a real privilege,” Rachael said. “I get to travel the world with my friends while representing my country doing what I love.
“I have met some amazing people along the way. I’ve been lucky to meet quite a few celebrities like the royal family, Cathy Freeman and other professional athletes, but the most touching have been some of the beautiful fans I’ve met. They have had a real impact on my life, and the kindness and support shown to me by complete strangers continues to astound me.
“It’s exhilarating playing in major competitions. Competing at two Commonwealth Games, and winning gold in penalties in both, is definitely a highlight. I also loved playing in front of 15,000 screaming fans in Holland at the World Cup… the experiences have been so memorable and hockey has provided me with great opportunities.”
A decade after making her senior international debut, Rachael finally got her chance to play in her maiden Olympics at Rio 2016, as the Australian goal keeper.
“It was an absolute honour to represent Australia at the Olympics,” she said. “So many people were involved in my journey to Rio so to be able to play in front of my family and my boyfriend was a dream come true.”
Rachael began playing hockey in primary school, and by Year 11 was training with the Victorian Institute of Sport. Today she juggles her hockey career with working as a nurse at the Royal Perth Hospital.
“As an athlete I am a firm believer in having balance in my life. Elite sport requires a huge commitment of time, energy, and mental focus, but I still think it’s important to have a career outside of sport, and growing up my parents always taught me the importance of having a well-rounded life.
“I started nursing at ACU the same year I debuted for Australia. Life was hectic, but somehow I managed to study full-time, work a casual job, train 10 times a week and regularly compete for Australia internationally.”
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