Mark Tonelli is one of Australia's most versatile swimming all rounders having won a record 10 Australian Championships in three different strokes – freestyle, butterfly and backstroke.

He represented Australia in the pool on the International scene for seven years (1973-1980) making his national team debut as a 15 year old competing in the Belgrade World Championships where he placed 6th in the 200m Backstroke breaking the Commonwealth record. (Later he also broke Commonwealth records in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke.)

Mark won his first major international Gold Medal the following year as a 16 year old, winning the 100m Backstroke at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games plus two Silver Medals in the 200m Backstroke and Medley Relay. Mark is credited as the first Australian to break the magical minute barrier for the 100m Backstroke.

The following year he won a Silver Medal in the 200m Backstroke at the Cali World Championships.

Mark competed at his first Olympics at Montreal where he raced in the 100m and 200m Backstroke finals with a top placed finish of 4th in the 200m event.

He was appointed Captain of the Australian Swimming Team and honoured after his second Olympics as Captain of the Australian Team of the Year. It was a fitting reward for his leadership before and during the Moscow Olympics where he won his most famous Gold Medal as the Butterflyer on the 4x100 Medley Relay. That race having been immortalised by Norman May’s inspiring “Gold! Gold! Gold!”.