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In Pursuit of Excellence - Guy Harrison-Murray

Head coach Gary MacDonald and Guy Harrison-Murray. Photo taken in Guy's first season with the Axemen.
Head coach Gary MacDonald and Guy Harrison-Murray. Photo taken in Guy's first season with the Axemen.

By Sara Baxter - Second year Acadia University Bachelor of Business Administration student Guy Harrison-Murray is not only a member of the varsity men's swim team, but he also represented Australia at the Olympics in Rio.

He is now building towards the Tokyo Olympics, and is continuously competing on the international scale to prepare.  This summer he represented Australia at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships which took place in Cairns, Australia this past August.

In order for Guy to qualify to represent Australia, he had to attend trials in June in South Australia. To make the national team, he had to meet the qualifying time based on world rankings.


Harrison-Murray snuck just under the qualifying time and made it on the team. Australia took 35 swimmers to the championships. After making the national team, Harrison-Murray spent the summer training in Australia to prepare 

At the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, Guy raced in the 50m, 100m, 400m freestyle and the 100m butterfly. At the international level the races are always close between Harrison-Murray, a Brazilian, a Canadian and another Australian.

"I had shoulder issues from February until about July, so I hadn't been able to train to my full capacity and was lacking a bit of fitness" said Harrison-Murray.

Even with the injuries he has to overcome, Guy still represented Australia well at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships.  At the chamionships in August he did not race any personal best times, but he did get the bronze in the 50m, 100m and the 400m freestyle as well as the silver in the 100m butterfly. 

Team Australia

While Harrison-Murray was born in England, he lived in Australia for the past six years. When he moved to Australia, he really picked up his training and started making national team times. He competed at the Australian championship but initially was not allowed to race in the finals since he did not have Australia citizenship.

An Australian national team coach approached him after the championships with an offer to help him secure citizenship and compete with the Australian national team. Harrison-Murray said he "had to decide between the British national team or the Australian National Team".

In the end, Harrison-Murray chose to swim for Australia. "At the end of the day, it was an Australian coach who made me the swimming I am today, with all the training in Australian facilities and with the Australian coaches" said Guy.

Harrison-Murray received his Australian citizenship in January 2015, and he is still representing the country today. 

Swimming at Acadia

Because of his experience moving from England to Australia, Guy knew he liked moving to different countries and experiencing different cultures. He liked the idea of studying in America and experience the sport culture there, but quickly realized there were challenges to entering the NCAA system.

While in Australia, Harrison-Murray attended an international school, and Brendan Vibert was one of the other students there. Vibert has close ties to Acadia University, and told Guy he was planning to study in Wolfville and swim for Acadia.

Harrison-Murray took time off from school before attending university while he was focusing on training for the Rio Olympics.

Guy kept in touch with Vibert once left Australia to return to Canada, and when Guy was ready to start looking at universities in Canada Brendan put him in touch with the Acadia swimming coach.

In the end, Guy chose to attend Acadia University because of the small community. He wanted to attend a school where all the professors would know him by his first name, and would actually know him as a person.

"The first day of school all the professors knew who I was thanks to Professor Vibert (Brendan's Dad) in the business school" said Harrison-Murray.

He still really enjoys the small community environment, small classes, and personal relationships he has built with his professors over the past two years. Harrison-Murray also said he "loves the snow" because he really had never experienced it before attending Acadia and living in Wolfville.

He is working towards his Bachelor of Business Administration and has an interest in being a sports agent after graduation. He is currently the Captain of the Men's Swimming Team at Acadia, and is incredibly excited to see what they can accomplish this season.

For now, he is focusing on his studies, the Acadia swimming season and working towards competing at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.