Paralympian swimmer tops off medal haul with honour

Paralympic swimmer Mary Fisher after receiving the Insignia of a Member of the NZ Order of merit at Government House in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Paralympic swimmer Mary Fisher after receiving the Insignia of a Member of the NZ Order of merit at Government House in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Paralympian swimmer Mary Fisher has topped off her four medal-haul at the London 2012 Games with another honour.

Fisher received the insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to swimming today.

Fisher, 20, said being presented with the award was a proud moment. "I just feel really proud for my family for getting me to London, and my coach and all my friends and flatmates, and everyone who has really supported me.

"To get presented by the Governor-General was something really special."

Fisher, who is partially-sighted, said she had an "inkling' that she might be at medal-pace for her top events at the Paralympics in London - the 100m backstroke and the 200 individual medley - but her goal was just to swim personal bests in all events.

She won silver medals in the women's 100m freestyle and the 100m backstroke, and a bronze in the women's 50m freestyle.

Her gold in the 200m individual medley came in her final race and the last event of the competition.

"Being on top of the podium was such an incredible feeling, and it felt like it wasn't just me up there, it was my parents and family and friends and coach and just the whole of New Zealand pretty much," she said.

Fisher is studying towards a Bachelor of Science at Massey University, and training for the World Championships in Montreal in August.

Among other sportspeople to receive their insignia from Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae at Government House in Wellington today was fellow paralympian Phillipa Gray, who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to cycling.

Gray won a gold medal in the B (tandem) women's pursuit event at the London 2012 games, setting a new world record.

She also won silver in the B women's road time trial and a bronze in the B women's 1km time trial. Gray is sight and hearing impaired and rides tandem with a pilot.

Football Fern Maia Jackman also received her insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to football.

Jackman has played 50 matches for the Football Ferns between 1993 and 21010, representing New Zealand at the FIFA Women's World Cup finals in 2007, and played for the FIFA World XI, the only New Zealand women to do so.

Olympian Joseph Sullivan also received his insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.

Sullivan and sculls partner Nathan Cohen, received the same honour a couple of weeks ago, won gold in the men's double sculls at the London Games. They also won back to back titles at the 2010 and 2011 World Rowing Championships.

Also honoured at today's ceremony was Sir Mark Solomon who was dubbed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori and business.

Other investitures:

- Laura Fairweather, South Catlins, MNZM for services to cycling

- Peter Jensen, Whangarei, MNZM for services to the community

- Hohi Kaa, Gisborne, CNZM for services to Maori and the arts

- Prof David Pool, Hamilton, CNZM for services to demography

- Anthea Simcock, Hamilton, ONZM for services to child welfare

- Keith Scholes, Gisborne, QSM for services to athletics

- Barbara Stone, Papakura, QSM for services to the community

- Jonathan Tanner, Hamilton, QSM for services to hockey

- Terence Tuanui, Chatham Islands, QSM for services to the community

- Warren Barker, Fairlie, QSM for services to the community

- William Benson, Hastings, QSM for services to art deco restoration and the community

- David Blackwell, Christchurch, QSM for services to tennis

- David Broderick, Himatangi Beach, QSM for services to the community

- Diane Broderick, Himatangi Beach, QSM for services to the community

- APNZ

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