Roger Vaughan / AAP News
The four-time Commonwealth Games medallist is ready for her self-described splash and dash in Birmingham.
Australian Paralympic great Ellie Cole aims to cap her stellar swimming career with an elusive Commonwealth Games gold medal.
The 30-year-old will aim to compete at her third Games this year in Birmingham before retirement.
Cole’s 17 years on the national swim team features six Paralympic gold medals and three world titles.
She was the national team’s closing ceremony flagbearer at Beijing last year after she took her medal tally to 17 across four Games, making her Australia’s most successful female Paralympian.
But Cole has a silver and three bronze from the Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Obviously I’m going there to try and win. I’m not going to be disappointed in myself as an athlete if I don’t – I’ve achieved a lot in my 17 years on the Australian swim team,” she said.
“But you’re right, the one thing that is missing that is the Commonwealth Games gold medal.”
Cole was speaking on Saturday at the Sydney leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, held at Rosehill Racecourse as part of the Golden Slipper meeting.
Top jockey Kerrin McEvoy was wearing the Queen’s silks as he handed the baton to Cole.
“I must say, I’ve never walked on a horse racing track before,” she said.
“To be handed the Commonwealth Games baton by one of the most respected jockey in Australia, I was a bit star-struck.”
Cole should make the team, but she turned 30 in December and has received a reminder from her body that she is no longer a youngster.
“It’s going very well … (but) the first event I had in my 30s, I dived in the water and did my back,” she said.
“That’s a reflection on my age and things should be coming to an end soon, but I’m very excited to finish off the career with a Commonwealth Games.
The nationals for Cole are in three weeks and she will aim for Games selection in the 50m and 100m freestyle.
“I don’t really like swimming fast, I like swimming long and slow,” she said.
“But I’m going to have to learn how to move my arms around and scurry on”
Para-swimming is integrated into the Games schedule and Cole said this has had a major impact on the profile of Para-sports.
“We’ve seen Para sport come such a long way over the last 10-12 years and huge credit goes to the Commonwealth Games – it’s one of the only events in the world where we have an integrated program,” Cole said.
“So I do have a lot to thank the Commonwealth Games for and that’s the reason why I want to retire at the Commonwealth Games.”