Tammy started her formal swimming training at age 11.
She progressed through her teens winning Victorian State Swimming and Victorian Royal Life Saving Titles.
She won the Lorne Pier to Pub swim, in 1986, 1987 and 1989.
Her first marathon swim was in 1986 from Beaumaris to Frankston, a distance of twenty kilometres.
In 1996, she became the first person to swim the treacherous Bass Strait.
Tammy also established record times and wins for swimming Loch Ness, New Zealand’s Cook Strait, the English Channel, Olympic Games Centenary Marathon swim in Greece and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York.
She was the first person to swim the Gippsland Lakes, and , in 2006, broke the longest standing world record in marathon swimming, from Battery Park (NY) to Sandy Hook (NJ), by over 2 hours.
Tammy credits much of her success to Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser, who has overseen and encouraged Tammy during many of her marathon swims.
On 18 February 2001, Tammy completed her greatest challenge to date by swimming the entire length of the Murray River from the alps to the ocean – a feat no one else in the world has achieved. Starting from Corryong in Victoria’s high country, it took Tammy 106 days to reach the Murray Mouth in South Australia, a distance of 2438 kilometres.
As a human water quality tester, Tammy has campaigned for cleaner waterways. Whilst working in her watery office, the Murray River, Tammy tried to raise awareness about environmental issues confronting the river such as poor environmental flows, salinity and toxic algal bloom.
Hypothermia, vomiting, swollen tongue – just a day in the life of a marathon swimmer. “You need to be a touch crazy,” says Tammy.
But evidently an advantage according to her personal catch phrase:
“blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light”
- World record (fastest person) to swim 22 miles from Battery Park, New York to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, 21st July 2006 (5hrs 06mins). She broke the longest standing record in the marathon swimming history books set by Gertrude Ederle in 1925 by over 2 hours.
- World record (first/fastest person) to swim Gippsland Lakes, Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance, June 2004 (9hrs 57mins).
- World Record (fastest person) across Cook Strait, (Nth to Sth), New Zealand. March 1999 (6hrs 49mins)
- World Record(fastest person) to swim length of Loch Ness, Scotland. August 1999 (9hrs 6mins)
- World Record (fastest person) to swim 2438km length of the Murray River, Australia. 5 November 2000 – 18 February 2001 (106 days)
- World Record (fastest person) to swim Bass Strait, Tasmania to Victoria, Australia. February 1996. (17hrs 46 mins – 97.4kms)
- Winner of Manhattan Island 48km Marathon Swim, New York. 1997 (7hrs 13mins)
- Winner of Olympic Games Centenary Marathon Swim, Greece. 1996 (7hrs 13mins)
- Winner of inaugural Melbourne 30km Big Swim, Australia. 1998 (7hrs 18mins)
- Fastest person across the English Channel in 1993, UK. (8hrs 38mins)
- First ever brother/sister combination to cross English Channel together, UK. 1994 (John van Wisse – 8hrs 17mins & Tammy van Wisse – 8hrs 32mins)
- Australian Record for the fastest person to swim 50 laps (40kms) of Bondi Beach, Australia. 1998 (9hrs 7mins)
- Represented Australia in over 16 international marathon swims
- Winner of 17 Victorian Royal Lifesaving Ironwoman Titles (without a hint of rust!)
- As part of Tammy’s objectives to promote Port Phillip Bay, Victoria as an environmentally friendly recreational asset she has also swum:
- Across Port Phillip Bay, Portarlington to Frankston, 1993 (40kms)
- Length of Port Phillip Bay, Rosebud to Sth Melbourne, 1994 (58.5kms)
- Circumference of Port Phillip Bay, Portsea to Sorrento, 1995 (144kms)