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Ellie Cole of Australia celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S9 Final on day 9 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Ellie Cole

Swimming
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Just as the Netflix documentary 'Rising Phoenix' depicts, Ellie Cole does not give up. The Australian faced a tough decision to retire after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where she stole the thunder with four gold medals.

A reconstructive surgery on her shoulder in 2013 would have seen her out of the pool indefinitely, but Cole remained undeterred and was more determined to pursue her passion for swimming.

After recovering from the operation, Cole returned to training and in 2015 went on to win her first world titles. She left Glasgow, Great Britain, with three gold medals in the 100m backstroke S9, 100m freestyle S9 and 4 x 100m freestyle relay 34 points.

Her 100m backstroke title also came with a world record. A further bronze medal in the 50m freestyle S9 and a silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay 34 points sealed an incredible competition for the Melbourne-born athlete.

For her efforts, Cole received Swimming Australia’s Golden Moment Award in 2015.

At Rio 2016, Cole successfully defended her 100m backstroke title and was part of the relay team that defended their 4x100m freestyle relay 34 points crown. In all, she won medals in six of her events, sharing the honour as Australia's top medallist in Rio.

She returned to the London pool for the 2019 World Championships. She came away with a silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 400m freestyle in her S9 class. While not satisfied, it only fuels the fire for Tokyo 2020.

Cole, whose right leg was amputated as a result of cancer at the age of two, excelled at swimming right from the start.

Eight weeks after the amputation, Cole’s mother took her swimming as part of the rehabilitation process. Her instructors predicted it would take her a year to learn to swim in a straight line. It took her two weeks.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
S9, SB8, SM9

Further personal information

Residence
Sydney, NSW, AUS
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Coaching, Exercise Science - University of Canberra: Australia

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She learnt to swim at age three. She began competing in 2003.
Why this sport?
Her mother took her swimming as part of her rehabilitation following the amputation of her right leg. She participated in a number of sports at school, but she decided to focus on swimming as some of her teachers were reluctant for her to play team sports. "I think that's why I really enjoyed swimming: it was a sport where I could just get in there. I was representing myself and no one could take me out of it."
Club / Team
Knox Pymble SC: Sydney, NSW, AUS
Name of coach
Simon Cusack [personal], from 2019
Training Regime
She trains at the Knox Grammar School pool in Pymble, NSW, Australia. Her sessions last for between four and six hours a day. "Usually, we are in the pool but we also mix up our sessions with weights, cardio and Pilates."

International debut

Year
2006
Competing for
Australia
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Durban, RSA

General interest

Nicknames
El (vis.org.au, 17 Dec 2009)
Hobbies
Cycling, wheelchair basketball, cooking, rock climbing. (womenshealth.com.au, 28 Dec 2017)
Memorable sporting achievement
Being able to compete again after undergoing reconstruction surgery on both shoulders in 2013. (womenshealth.com.au, 19 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
Australian triathlete Emma Moffatt, South African Para swimmer Natalie Du Toit. (paralympic.org.au, 28 Feb 2015, 01 Feb 2012)
Injuries
She fractured the fifth metatarsal on her left foot in 2017. The injury affected her training for three months. (sunshinecoastdaily.com.au, 22 Feb 2018)

In 2013 she underwent surgery on both of her shoulders. She returned to full fitness in August 2014. (paralympic.org, 28 Dec 2014; hillsnews.com.au, 13 Aug 2014)

She broke her ankle in 2002 and was out of action for four months. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Better to get a sore neck from aiming too high than a hunchback from aiming too low." (performerawards.com.au, 18 Nov 2011)
Awards and honours
She was a co-recipient of the 2015 Golden Moment of the Year presented by Swimming Australia. The honour was in recognition of the three gold medals she won at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. (swimswam.com, 05 Sep 2015)

She was named the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year by the Australian edition of 'Cosmopolitan' magazine. (cosmopolitan.com.au, 18 Nov 2015)

She received the Medal of the Order of Australia [OAM] in 2014. (paralympic.org.au, 26 Jan 2014)

In August 2011 she was named Athlete of the Month by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC]. (swimming.org.au, 28 Nov 2013)

She received a sport achievement prize from the Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] in recognition of her performance at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (ausport.gov.au, 17 Dec 2009)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (7news.com.au, 14 Nov 2019)
Impairment
She was diagnosed with cancer in her right leg at age two. The limb was amputated after chemotherapy was unsuccessful. (paralympic.org.au, 15 Jul 2010)
Other information
NEW APPROACH
In 2019 she relocated to Sydney, NSW, Australia, to start swimming alongside Australian able-bodied swimmers Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell under the guidance of coach Simon Cusack. "I have been to three Paralympic Games and I am still trying new things, which is really cool. I did pretty well [at the 2016 Paralympic Games] in Rio de Janeiro but my times weren't where I wanted them to be. So I left pretty disappointed. It's been really interesting training with the Campbell sisters because they don't really do too much kick work, whereas all my old training programmes have been all about kick, kick, kick. For me it is about not only getting back to where I was [at the 2012 Paralympic Games] in London but I want to go faster. I just care about posting faster times. Simon thinks I can do it and I really want to give it one last crack." (paralympic.org, 24 Jan 2019)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has studied exercise science at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, NSW, Australia. (dailytelegraph.com.au, 09 Aug 2015)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 8
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 1 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 5
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 3 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 2
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 4
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Final Round 3
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 3
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Heat 1 2
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 4
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Heat 2 3
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 7
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 3
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 2 4
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 3
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 1 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 4
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 3
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 2 1
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2
IPC Swimming World Championships Durban 2006 (Durban, South Africa)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34 pts Final Round 6
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34 pts Final Round 5
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 6
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heats 6
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heats 9
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 7
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heats 8
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heats 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Final Round 2012-08-30 4
Women's 100 m Butterfly S9 Heat 2 2012-08-30 4
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 2012-08-31 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 1 2012-08-31 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 2012-09-03 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-04 3
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2012-09-04 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 2012-09-05 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-05 3
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM9 Heat 1 2012-09-06 4
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2012-09-07 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-07 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2012-09-07 2
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 2 2015-07-13 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final 1 2015-07-13 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2015-07-14 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 2015-07-14 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final 1 2015-07-16 3
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2015-07-16 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2015-07-16 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final 1 2015-07-19 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2016-09-09 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 2016-09-09 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2016-09-12 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2016-09-12 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2016-09-13 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2016-09-13 2
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 2016-09-15 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2016-09-16 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Final Round 2016-09-16 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S9 Heat 3 2016-09-16 1