Tessa Wallace, who represented Australian Swimming at the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics, was diagnosed with Lyme disease several years ago, but despite this has performed tremendously; all whilst batting Lyme disease and doing it all with a smile.
Tessa is passionate about raising awareness of Lyme disease in Australia and is extremely excited to be an Ambassador for the Lyme Disease Association of Australia (LDAA) in order to help increase action and awareness for this debilitating disease.
In 2010, at only 17, Tessa won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 200 metres breaststroke, months after a knee surgery. In 2011 she contracted Ross River Virus and saw her health decline; however, she was determined to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.
With constant fatigue, muscle aches and lack of ability to train, she somehow fought her way through a miracle race to win the 200 metres breaststroke to qualify for the Olympic Team, achieving her lifelong dream.
Her health however was not improving, and it was later that year she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease and co-infections. In 2013 after six months of treatment she managed to slowly climb her way back up to the top of the swimming ladder. Tessa qualified for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and competed in other events to put her in the top three swimmers on the world rankings.
In the lead up to the 2016 Olympic selections Tessa’s symptoms flared – the aches, pain and fatigue made preparations difficult - and she just missed a Rio selection. Tessa now sees this as a blessing in disguise to devote time to putting her health back on track and focus towards the next 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, which she has been selected for. She has also been studying PR and journalism in the midst of this battle.
Daniel Kowalski, General Manager of the Australian Swimmers Association, maintains that she has character, toughness, tenacity and heart. “Tessa is someone whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for and I truly believe she would be an amazing asset for the LDAA”.
The LDAA is privileged to have her as an Ambassador and we wish her every success in the future.