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Torrie Lewis Smiling Headshot

Torrie Lewis: Fastest Aussie Woman Ever

Signet caught up trackside with young Aussie sprinter, Torrie Lewis, as she stretches in preparation for her first run of the day at Brisbane's Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre. Her sense of humour and enthusiasm has the whole team smiling as she goes on to talk about awkwardly meeting her track heroes, the challenges of juggling life as an average Aussie teenager and what it feels like to be the National Champion.

As a young girl, 100 and 200 metre sprinter Torrie Lewis thought her dream of tearing up the track and representing Australia was comparable to becoming an Astronaut – something she could dream about but never really believed would happen. Now, at just 18 years old, Lewis is pinching herself coming to terms with her accomplishments and the reality of her international career.

“It's crazy to have these idols since you were little and now, I'm staying in the same hotels and running against them!”

“I'm fresh out of high school, I just had my school formal! It's so crazy. I do feel like half of me is surprised, but then the other half of me isn't. I'd been taking the right steps with my training but to get to compete overseas for Australia… is a dream come true. I'm absolutely stoked and cannot wait for the next competition.”

Torrie Lewis at World ChampionshipsTorrie Lewis at World Championships

Lewis currently holds five Queensland state records and three Australian records but is focused on always pushing herself even further.

“When I was 16, I clocked a time of 11.33 seconds in the 100 metres. I was so happy. I think Raylene Boyle was the only Australian Junior to beat that time and that was in 1968! The current Australian record for Opens is 11.11 seconds, set by Melissa Breen in 2014. My personal best, which I made in March, is 11.23 seconds. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it can take a lot to get there. I will just keep trying to find that 0.13sec” . It didn't take Torrie very long - In January 2024 (after our interview) Lewis went on to run 11.10 in the 100 metres, beating the national record by 0.01 of a second and becoming Australia's fastest woman ever.

In April 2023, Lewis was crowned Australian National Champion for the over 100 and 200 metre sprints, making her the second youngest Aussie woman to ever win the title. Her raw talent on the track turned heads and shook up the competition, defying the accomplishments of more experienced sprinters and pushing her towards international competition.

“I think I'm now ranked in the top two for 100 and 200 metres within my age group.”

Torrie Lewis Training in Gym Torrie Lewis Training in Gym

“Usually, you're still considered a Junior until you're 20 years old and then you can compete in the Opens. Even though I'm only 18, I got to compete in the Opens this year and I won the Nationals. So, now I'm the Australian National Champion for the 100 and 200 metres. I don't know how to feel about it, but I love it. In the world, I think I'm now ranked in the top two for 100 and 200 metres within my age group.” Lewis says giggling. “We'll see how I go next time.”

Despite her success, Lewis seems to be more excited about meeting and running alongside her heroes. In August 2023, she got a chance to compete overseas at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. It was a dream come true, but she had to remind herself to stay focused and “fangirl” after the races were over.

“It's crazy to have these idols since you were little and now, I'm staying in the same hotels and running against them! I may have snuck a couple of sneaky photos of some of the girls at meal times. I am a big fan of Sha'carri Richardson, she is really amazing. I was at the block standing next to her in Budapest. She probably got one of the loudest cheers I've ever heard. In that moment, I was like, 'I'm actually here and this is who I'm next to!' ”

Torrie Lewis at Starting Line Torrie Lewis at Starting Line

Outside of the track, Lewis tries to live a balanced life just like any other Aussie teen, spending time with her family, friends and taking her aging Staffy to the beach. She believes balance is the key to improving focus, supporting her mental health, and ultimately fending off the boredom of training for too long.

“I just like chilling out with my friends. I can't only train. We go to the beach or a local river with a rope swing. Pretty normal teenager stuff. If you're doing one thing all the time it can get very tiring and even boring. Balance helps me concentrate and love the time I spend on the track. That's how I want to live, loving the track and not resenting it.”

As Lewis ramps up her training to represent Australia again in 2024, she cannot wait to get back into the Australian uniform. “Putting on the Green and Gold is just an amazing feeling. Every kid wants to wear the uniform for Australia. It really elevates me in a way that I just want to make people at home proud, whether that's my mom, my friends, my training team, the Signet employee with the matching outfit, or the Australian public.”

Torrie Lewis TrainingTorrie Lewis Training

It's funny, when Signet reached out to me, I thought it was an Instagram scam. I looked into it and watched some of your videos. You guys did one with Morgan (Australia Runner - Morgan Mitchell) and it looked amazing. It's great to see you guys getting behind these athletes and I'm so happy that you're now supporting me.”

Signet is stoked to support Torrie Lewis as a member of Team Signet. We're getting behind her, the rest of the team, and over 60,000 Aussie businesses all chasing their own dreams.

Read on to find out more about Lewis.

Signet: Tell us about yourself and what you are up to at the moment? 

Torrie: I’m living in Brisbane with my family, and I graduated High School last year. This year, I’ve just been focusing on training in the lead up to my next race, spending time with my old dog and trying to get some more international competition experience. I’m also planning on going to university to do a Software Engineering course. I just feel like I’ll be able to apply it to so many different things in the future.  

Signet: How did you first get into Athletics? 

Torrie: Originally, I wanted to do gymnastics. I loved it. I just started getting really tired and sore. We couldn’t work out why. I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and it just made it really hard for me to keep going back. It was a commitment of at least twenty-hours per week when I was only nine or ten years old. I took a break and didn’t really know what I wanted to do after that. I had always done well with running, but it was just something I did for school. I was probably about 11 or 12 years old when I started taking athletics seriously. I started doing little athletics and just kept going through the rounds until I made it to Nationals. Then I found a coach and started taking it more seriously. 

Signet: How would you compare your persona on the track compared to how you are at home? 

Torrie: At home, I’m annoying! My Mum says that. Apparently, I like to annoy her and the dog. I’m always jumping on her bed and asking stupid questions. It’s really fun. On the track, I think I’m quietly self-assured. That's really what I strive to be in a competition. I want to be self-assured, assured of my training, assured that I can go out there and do the best I can. 

Torrie Lewis at the Start LineTorrie Lewis at the Start Line

Signet: When you come back from overseas, what do you look forward to doing when you get home? 

Torrie: Seeing my mum and cooking proper food in my kitchen. When you travel, you just don't have all the ingredients you want. I just look forward to waking up in my own bed, cooking whatever I want, taking my dog for a walk and hanging out with my friends. 

It's bittersweet coming home from amazing places like Paris, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen. I get to go all over the world. People ask me what I want to do, I just want to travel, be with my friends and do what I love. Athletics has allowed me to do that. I've made so many amazing friends in athletics and being able to travel with them all over the world, to amazing places, makes me feel so lucky. 

Signet: What goes through your mind when your racing? How do you stay focused? 

Torrie: When I'm racing, I try to keep my thoughts very minimal. I’ve drilled it into my head with training so that I’m not thinking about a million things. I’m just calm, collected and thinking about one step at a time. For example, coming out of the blocks, I’m thinking “head down and drive.” When I get up, I might be thinking, “Just focus on yourself and don't look at anyone else. Just keep running.” My body should automatically do everything else. 

Torrie Lewis Preparing to RaceTorrie Lewis Preparing to Race

Signet: Who was your hero when you were growing up and thinking about being a Sprinter? 

Torrie: When I was younger it was Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser…Shelly-Ann is still winning! Sally Pearson and Cathy Freeman were my Australian heroes. 

I had a poster of Usain Bolt on my mirror, and I would dress up as him sometimes . I remember one Christmas my grandma got me this crocheted rasta hat and singlet. I'd wear that and do the lightning bolt. 

I really like Elaine Thompson and Sha'carri Richardson too. It does make me idolise them a little bit more now that I understand what they're doing and what they're going through to win. I’ve had a small taste of it. 

Signet: What’s next for Torrie Lewis?

Torrie: The Green and Gold. Putting on the colours is just an amazing feeling. Every kid wants to wear the uniform for Australia. It really elevates me in a way that I just want to make people at home proud, whether that's my mom, my friends, my training team, or the Australian public. I’ve got a few more races and then that’s the goal…

Torrie Lewis Smiling at CameraTorrie Lewis Smiling at Camera