Ellie splashes for Rio

Swimming sensation: Paralympian Ellie Cole became the first S9 swimmer to go under 29 seconds in the 50 metre freestyle earlier this year. Picture: Geoff Jones.Training preparations are going swimmingly for ParalympianEllie Cole.

The Granville resident headsto the US in a fortnight for 10 day teamtraining camp in Alabama before they headto Rio

Cole’s busy program includesthe 50, 100, 400 metre freestyle, 100 metre backstroke in the S9 classification and possibly two relays.

This is her third Paralympics.Her currentmedal tally stands at four gold, one silver and four bronze.

Paralympian Ellie ColeSun.

“My approach is very different this time around. It was all about winning gold medals before. I’m not so focused on that now.”

Her Rio cheer squad will include her proudparents, twin sister Brittany and her mum’s best friend.

“I’ve been to Rio before.It’s party central so I’m excited for the atmosphere the city will bring to the Paralympics,” Cole said.

“Our swim squad has changed a lot since the 2012 Paralympics in London. Around 25 per per centhave never been to theParalympics.We’realways the biggest and loudest squad.”

There will be no time for rest after the Paralympics.

“I’ll be getting straight back into the pool to start training for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,” Cole said.

“They’re earlier on in the year than usual so there’s less time to prepare.”

Cole was keen to spread the word about Optus’ much needed fund-raising efforts for the Australian Paralympic team.As the official support network, Optus calls on Australians to get behind the team by donating $5 by texting #high5 to 1999 8787.

It costs up to $40,000 to sendjust one athlete to the Paralympics.

Australia hopes to send170 membersfrom 15 sports.

“The Paralympic commitee doesn’t get the full amount of governmentfunding to send the team,”Cole said.

“I hope people will think about how important it is to send a team and impact the Paralympics have on the community.The team could inspire someone lying in hospital recovering from a terrible accident.”

She welcomed the increased exposureof the Paralympics.“It’s heading in the right direction in comparisonto when I first made the team eight years ago.”

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