035 – Andrew Mewing – We Are Not All Olympians (Part 1)

Former Australian Swimmer & Partner at Batch Mewing Lawyers

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As we soak up all the colour and thrills from the Rio Olympics, it’s worth spending a moment to consider that every athlete that flashes across our screens represents scores of would-be-Olympians who didn’t quite make it.

Those who pursued their Olympic dream and failed. They each have a story to tell.

My guest in this episode of the podcast is Andrew Mewing who has one cracking yarn to share about his path in swimming that took him to every major international meet – except for the Olympic Games.

A medalist at multiple World Championships and the Commonwealth Games, Andrew fell agonisingly short of his Olympic dream on three seperate occasions and at one point he found himself in the court of arbitration challenging Swimming Australia over his non-selection for the 2008 Beijing Games.

But this is not a story of doom and gloom. Andrew is impressive in the way he is able to constructively reflect on his career in the pool and process what many would see as heartbreak.

In this conversation he talks us through, blow for the blow, the physical torture of a high-stakes 200m freestyle final. He tells us what it’s like to get caught in the wash of a determined Ian Thorpe. He tells us of the physical toll of backing up to swim through heats, semi finals and finals in multiple events over consecutive days. And he talks us through how he managed to juggle studying two degrees while training full time and traveling the world to compete.

This is an incredible insider’s story of everything is takes to strive, to succeed, to fail and then to pick yourself up and do it all again.


Part 2 of my conversation with Andrew will be released on Thursday 18 August 2016


These are the pics that we spoke about during the episode:

Ian Thorpe fall in at Olympic trails 2004


Silver ain't that good

Lessons Learned

Here’s what I took from the episode:

Career Achievements

  • World Championships, Melbourne 2007 – silver in 4 x 200 freestyle relay
  • World Championships, Montreal 2005 – bronze in 4 x 100 freestyle relay and 4 x 200 freestyle relay
  • Commonwealth Games, Melbourne 2006 – bronze in 4 x 200 freestyle relay
  • Pan Pacific Championships, Victoria Canada – bronze in 4 x 100 freestyle relay and 4 x 200 freestyle relay
  • World (25m short course) Championships, Shanghai 2006 – silver in 4 x 200 freestyle relay
  • World (25m short course) Championships, Indianapolis – silver in 4 x 200 freestyle relay and 4 x 100 medley relay
  • World University Games, Korea 2003 – bronze in 4 x 100 freestyle relay
  • Multiple medallist at National and State Championships


Andrew represented Australia at every major international swim meet between the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.


Olympic Heartbreak

At the 2004 Australian Athens trials Andrew came 7th in the final of the 100m Freestyle. They selected the top 6 in the Olympic team.

At the same trials he came 7th in the final of the 200m Freestyle. Again, the top 6 were selected in the Olympic team

In 2008 at the trials for Beijing, Andrew came 8th in the final of the 200m Freestyle. They selected the top 6 in the Olympic team.

For the 2008 Olympics, Australian selectors took the top 8 swimmers for every relay event – except for Andrew’s


Sporting Background

Although he swam although his junior years, Andrew only started to train seriously for swim at the age of 19. He was a keen around sportsman. His real dream was to play top level rugby.

  • University of Queensland – Sportsman of the Year 2003 and Full Blue 2002
  • Competed at surf lifesaving after retiring from swimming – included medals in the belt race and Taplin relay at National and State Championships
  • Was a keen rugby player before swimming career took off – was in the First XV at school, then was captain of the Souths Premier Colts team, and was in the Queensland under 19 training squad. Repeat injuries steered him away from rugby to swimming when he was 19.


Career & Academic Achievements

Not only was Andrew an outstanding swimmer and rugby player, he was a gifted and disciplined student – finishing high school with an OP  1 (top 1% of students in Queensland)

  • Bachelor of Laws, UQ
  • Bachelor of Commerce, UQ
  • Graduate Diploma in Construction Law, University of Melbourne
  •  Published twice in the Australian Building and Construction Law Journal
  • In senior year of high school (St Lawrence’s) received an OP score of 1, Australian Students Prize (for top 500 school leavers in Australia), College Sporting Scholar, and subject prizes for Maths C (complex maths) and Study of Religion


Career Path

  • Studied Commerce and Law (while competing for Australia in swimming)
  • Admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland (in the week before World Championships in 2007)
  • Worked for 2 years as an in-house lawyer at International Quarterback – the sports management company
  • Various legal roles including in-house counsel at Sedgman Limited (then ASX-listed and now part of the CIMIC group)
  • Led the construction practice at McInnes Wilson Lawyers for 3 years
  • Recently founded the boutique law firm, Batch Mewing Lawyers. Specialising in all areas of building and construction law and work on both transactional and disputed matters concerning the engineering, procurement, construction and operation of major projects.


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