Ellie's set for New Delhi

Ellie's set for New Delhi

Kristyn Comino


Ellie Cole on campus at UC ahead of her Commonwealth Games debut

30 June 2010: Ellie Cole is swimming ahead to represent Australia for the first time at this year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, with a fierce training session and two Paralympic medals under her belt to spur her on.

“It was a tough event to qualify for so I was relieved when I realised I had made a position on the team,” Ms Cole said, having qualified for the 100m Freestyle, 50m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly events.

The University of Canberra coaching science student moved from Melbourne earlier this year to the Australian Institute of Sport and has since also qualified for the World Championships to be held in a few weeks time.

“Moving to the AIS was a huge decision in my life, having to relocate to a different state away from family and friends. Clearly it’s paying off, having already booked a ticket onto a World Championships team and the Commonwealth Games team,” she said.

Fully-integrated events

This October’s Commonwealth Games will see fully-integrated events included for the second time, where Paralympic events and able-bodied events are combined in to the same competition, something Ms Cole is looking forward to.

“The Commonwealth Games team is the only International Swimming Team where they take Paralympic athletes and able-bodied athletes to the same competition overseas. After spending so much time with a Paralympic team, it will be good to mix with some well-known Olympians too.”

At the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing Ms Cole took home a silver and two bronze medals aged just 16, something she said was very overwhelming.

“Beijing was an event where I walked into the pool with no expectations on me. I wasn't well-known to the swimming community and nobody expected any medals from me at a young age like that,” Ms Cole said.

“An experience like that is something that every athlete dreams of, and I actually can't explain the feeling.”

Beating the odds

Ms Cole was diagnosed with cancer when she was just two years old and after a year of chemotherapy had to have her right leg amputated just above the knee. Eight weeks after the surgery her parents enrolled her in swimming lessons where she immediately excelled.

“The swimming teachers told my parents that it would take me about a year to swim in straight line. I've been told I like to prove people wrong and this started at a very young age. I started swimming in a straight line after two weeks,” she said.

“Something great came from something that is considered to be tragic … even though I was very young back then I learnt that everything always turns out okay in the end. Always. You just have to wait it out. It’s the message I always like to carry with me to people that are upset.”

With a long history of swimmers and divers in her family, once Ms Cole has finished achieving her own swimming dreams she hopes to use her degree to help other athletes as an exercise scientist.

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