Melissa Carlton is a freestyle swimmer who migrated with her family to Tasmania from South Africa at the age of twelve in 1986. At the the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta she won two gold medals, two silver and one bronze. She also held the world record for the 400 meters freestyle. Born with a congenital leg disability, Carlton says 'I never considered myself to be disabled because this is how I have always been. It's how I have always swum.'
Conisdered to be somewhat of an icon of Tasmanian sport, Carlton was named Tasmanian Sportswoman of the the Year in 1996. In 2000, she was appointed Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Paralympic Committee.