Giaan Rooney with baby Lexi. Picture: @giaan.rooney/Instagram
Giaan Rooney with baby Lexi. Picture: @giaan.rooney/Instagram

‘I felt I had failed as a mum’

SWIMMING champion Giaan Rooney has revealed her pride got in the way when she felt she was "failing" as a mother.

The Olympic gold medallist sought help from a sleep expert last year after her newborn daughter Alexa Leigh - born in June - slept no longer than 40 minutes at a time.

She had similar issues with her son Zander, 4.

"It was the first time in my life I was failing at something I was meant to be good at," Rooney, 34, told Confidential.

"I was used to if something wasn't working I was able to change that and fix it.

"With Zander it took six or seven months of struggling through it before I admitted I needed help. That was a pride thing."

Former swimmer and Triple M radio presenter Libby Trickett with her daughter Edwina. Picture: Liam Kidston
Former swimmer and Triple M radio presenter Libby Trickett with her daughter Edwina. Picture: Liam Kidston

While she still struggled with Lexi's sleep, she had come to terms with not putting pressure on herself - something she discussed with fellow swimmer and mother-of-two Libby Trickett.

"I naively thought I would be better at it second time around. The difference was I knew and was able to ask for help a lot earlier," she said.

Rooney is gearing up to helm Channel 7's coverage of the swimming at the Commonwealth Games in her home city of the Gold Coast.

She said going home to a 9-month-old baby after a day at the pool would be difficult.

"I said to my husband (Sam Levett) 'I know I'm here but you kind of have to pretend I'm not'," she said.

Sam Levett and Giaan Rooney.
Sam Levett and Giaan Rooney.

"My parents live seven minutes around the corner. I've stocked the freezer with meals and done the ginormous supermarket shop. It's almost like we are planning for the end of the world.

Cate Campbell at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Cate Campbell at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

"(Sam) is a better father than I am a mother. I don't worry about him at all. I'm very lucky."

Rooney, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, tipped Cate Campbell and Ariarne Titmus to have strong meets.

Ariarne Titmus. Picture: Adam Head
Ariarne Titmus. Picture: Adam Head

She said the challenge in the commentary team was putting her emotions for the swimmers aside.

"Sometimes we've got tears welling up and you're trying to stop your voice from shaking and not to yell at them for the last 15 metres," she said.



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