Thomas stays as Commonwealth Games team chief

Creating unity within Australia's team when the 2026 Commonwealth Games is spread throughout Victorian regions will be vital to success, chef de mission Petria Thomas says.

Thomas has been reappointed as the team's leader for the 2026 Games to be staged in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and the Gippsland and Shepparton regions.

Victoria's latest edition is the first time the Games will be held in multiple regions with Thomas charged with fostering an overall team spirit despite the geographical spread.

Thomas was Australia's first female chef de mission at a Commonwealth Games last year in Birmingham when the nation topped the medal tally, winning 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze medals.

Birmingham was the 12th time in 20 editions of the Games that Australia headed the medal table.

"I loved many things about Birmingham ... winning the medal tally was the icing on the cake, to be honest," Thomas said on Monday.

"But just seeing the way the team conducted itself and the way the athletes and the coaches and all of our team members went about our business was really pleasing.

"The team experience component of what we did in Birmingham was so important and it will be again in Victoria, particularly with the decentralised model.

"In Victoria ... it will be really important to create that sense of team as best we can and create an environment which allows people to have a great experience which will then lead to the increased chance of some great performances as well."

Thomas, a swim great who won nine gold medals at three Commonwealth Games from 1994-2002, oversaw the successful Birmingham campaign despite planning and logistics hampered by COVID-19.

Her leadership was lauded by Commonwealth Games Australia's chief executive officer Craig Phillips.

"Petria ably demonstrated her management skills ... showcasing the integrity, dedication and commitment required of the role," Phillips said.

"She is held in high regard by all team members and the leadership, knowledge and experiences Petria brings to the team ensures the best opportunities to excel both on and off the field of play."