Former Olympic swimmer, television personality and all-round nice girl Giaan Rooney caught up with Peter for our latest “White with one”. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Giaan on several events but how does she take her coffee and how did her swimming career all start? Find out here.
Peter: How do you take your coffee?
Soy latte with no sugar. I only have one a day – in the morning. I sometimes will have a herbal tea, as I’m lactose intolerant, but nothing after 3pm. Being pregnant at the moment, you have to watch everything you eat and drink.
Peter: You are best known for your outstanding swimming career – how did it all start and what are you doing now?
It was at school and I was 11. I was 15 when I went to the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1992 where I won two gold medals. I retired at the old age of 23 and then had to think about life after swimming. Until that time I’d never had a resume, let alone a job. For some reason, I thought I’d be a travel writer and journalist and was lucky to be able to combine them. My first job was at Channel 9 on Postcards. I then covered the London Olympics before moving to Channel 7 at the end of 2012. As part of the move, I did the weather on 7 which was not really my thing but a great experience all the same. You would be amazed how many people ask you “What’s the weather like for the weekend?” Since then I’ve been involved with tennis, horse racing and of course the Olympics in Rio last year. I’m now living on the Gold Coast but come to Melbourne regularly.
Peter: What are some of your proudest moments/highlights of your career?
That’s a hard one because most people only associate me with swimming. I’m certainly very fortunate to have had the experiences I have but I can honestly say I’ve done everything with a no regrets approach. I’m one of those people who are best when pushed out of their comfort zone, whether it be personal or business.
Peter: What is your favourite event to attend in Melbourne?
Definitely the tennis as I really admire the commitment the players have to their sport. The best thing is that I’m working there so I’m able to get a different perspective on what really goes on. I lived in Melbourne for 13 years so I also loved going to lots of musical theatre shows which unfortunately the Gold Coast doesn’t have. I’m also a big fan of the Flower & Garden Show and I miss that.
Peter: Why do you think Melbourne is such a great city to host major sporting events?
Definitely because of the people who I believe are the best supporters and will give anything a go. Just look at the crowds that turn up on a weekly basis to an AFL game. There is a passion here for so many different events and something for everyone. And dare I say it but I think the weather also contributes to this, as Melbourne is able to have the best of everything throughout the entire year. The Melbourne Winter Masterpieces is a great example, as it’s all indoors.
Peter: Where is your favourite place to go for coffee?
When I was living in Melbourne, it was a small place in Williamstown called General Food Co. Now on the Gold Coast, it’s a place called Coffee Sisters in Broadbeach.
Peter: You mean there is a decent coffee place on the GC! If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be and why?
I’d love to be Pink – even though I can’t sing. She is the total opposite to me in so many ways and I love that she doesn’t care what people think of her. I also love how she uses her profile to help others.
Peter: Why is sport such an important part of growing up?
I can honestly say sport kept me out of potential trouble at any early age as it made me part of something much bigger. It’s also great in helping people be team players, showing leadership and develop good time management, as well as setting up a healthy lifestyle.
Peter: I couldn’t agree more. Giaan, thank you so much for your time today. As always, it’s been a delight chatting with you. And congratulations on baby number 2.