Michelle Payne swimming for gold in the name of charity

11 June 2024 Written by VRC

2015 Lexus Melbourne winning jockey Michelle Payne OAM will be going for a different type of gold when she dives into the pool for the 2024 Celebrity Relay Race on Wednesday 12 June, as part of the Australian Swimming Trials ahead of the Olympics.

A huge cast of Australian celebrities and swimming legends will assemble at Brisbane Aquatic Centre for their own shot at glory in a 50m freestyle relay including Olympic gold medalists Susie O’Neill AM and Mack Horton OAM, Channel 9’s Karl Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys and professional surfer Owen Wright.

Ms Payne will join forces with Wallabies rugby union legend Drew Mitchell and Olympic Gold medalist Duncan Armstrong to create Team Payne and will compete against six other relay teams.

Ms Payne and her brother, Stevie Payne, who was her strapper for the 2015 Lexus Melbourne Cup win have been training in the lead up to the event with Stevie also flying to Brisbane to cheer her on.

As part of the event, Michelle has chosen to promote  the Victoria Racing Club’s Pin & Win charity initiative which is supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities Victoria & Tasmania for 2024 – 2025.

Money raised from the Pin & Win partnership will help fund free 'home away from home' accommodation to families with seriously ill children across Victoria & Tasmania, removing the stress of finding accommodation so families can focus on helping their children recover.

Ms Payne said she was thrilled to be part of the race and to support this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival Pin & Win charity partner, Ronald McDonald House Charities Victoria & Tasmania.

“I’m excited to be part of the fun while at the same time being able to support the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities Victoria & Tasmania,” Ms Payne said.

“Hopefully I’ll be adding another gold to sit with my Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy when our team touches the wall first. I’m even bringing my secret weapon and biggest supporter, my brother, Stevie Payne to cheer me home.

“It will be amazing to be in Brisbane to see Australia’s best swimmers ahead of this year’s Olympic Games in Paris.”

In commentary for Nine’s Wide World of Sports will be Ian Thorpe AM, Giaan Rooney OAM and Ellie Cole AM, alongside host James Bracey, race caller Mat Thompson and Roz Kelly poolside.

The race is available live and free on Channel 9 and to stream on 9Now, which is also the home of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The official Pin & Win campaign will commence later this year, with 2024 Lexus Melbourne Cup souvenir pins available for purchase online at, at all Flemington race days and events from August through to Melbourne Cup Carnival, and a range of retail outlets later this year.