Colleen Swifte

Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 Competitor

ADF service: I joined the Australian Army as a Signaller in 1999 and discharged in 2006.
Age: 43
Home town: Brisbane, Queensland
Current town: Brisbane, Queensland
Competing in: Cycling, Sitting Volleyball and Wheelchair Basketball
What is the nature of your injury or illness? Knee injury and Post Traumatic Stress.
What role has sport played in your rehabilitation? Leaving the Army with a knee and shoulder injury left me feeling frustrated that my body couldn’t do all the things it used to do. I also struggled with my mental health. I took up cycling when I saw other veterans getting so much out of the sport. It has been amazing for strengthening my knee post surgeries and can be quite calming for the mind. I have developed some strong friendships within the cycling community. I volunteer for a school bicycle program and have worked as a bicycle mechanic.
Sport background: I have always enjoyed playing sport but have not been seriously involved in any teams.  Some achievements include being my high school Sports Captain and starting a women’s rugby team at one of my units in the Army. I have played touch football and now race in cycling events. 
What is your greatest achievement to date? Perhaps not my greatest achievement but an important one in this context is choosing to be part of the Invictus Games.  Coming from the military where physical fitness and mental fortitude are revered it is not easy to put yourself into the public realm and out yourself as having mental health struggles.  I am proud to have done that.
Why did you apply for the Invictus Games? I saw the positive effect that training for and competing at Invictus Games 2017 and 2018 had on other veterans. It inspired me to have a go. I felt the supportive and understanding team environment would be a great place to develop fitness and skills within my limitations and provide a foundation for ongoing participation in in sport.
What will success look like for you at the Games? I would love to be the fastest or the strongest, but I will be satisfied if I’m still smiling when I finish and have enjoyed the company of my fellow competitors.
What does unconquered mean to you? Not giving up. Persevering through difficulty and, if one does fail, having the courage to start again.    

this is colleen's story

Colleen's Story