The first Australian Swimming Team Members have been selected as they prepare to take on the Commonwealth’s best swimmers in Birmingham.
An elite squad of 27 Para-swimmers is poised to represent Australia with distinction at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games from July 28 to August 8, with the Team Members being revealed today at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
From decorated champion Ellie Cole OAM to teenage sensation Isabella Vincent, the team chosen to swim for the green and gold has a proven record of success and includes eight Commonwealth Games medallists and eight Paralympic gold medallists.
The experienced campaigners will be joined by a new breed of future swimming stars who will make their Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.
Victorian-born Cole, 30, who now lives in Sydney, headlines a diverse and talented team with representatives from across the country.
She will be seeking to add a Birmingham gold medal to an outstanding resume that includes six Paralympic gold medals when she makes her third Commonwealth Games appearance after selection for the Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games resulting in a silver and three bronze medals.
Birmingham will be the final meet of Cole’s stellar career and a gold in her signature event, the 100m Freestyle S9, would complete a full set of medals at three Commonwealth Games medals for the champion.
Cole has set the example for her fellow Para-swimmers to follow as she strives for victory in one final “splash and dash” for Australia in Birmingham.
“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,” Cole said.
“But… the one thing that is missing is the Commonwealth Games gold medal.
“I don’t really like swimming fast, I like swimming long and slow, but I’m going to have to learn how to move my arms around and scurry on.
“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, 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.”
Queensland’s Lakeisha Patterson OAM, after claiming two gold medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, is chasing further success in her third Games appearance.
Nicknamed “Lucky”, Patterson, who began swimming at the age of five to overcome stiffness associated with cerebral palsy, is also a three-time Paralympic gold medallist.
“To represent my country at this level is such an honour, and I’m so proud to have been selected for my third Commonwealth Games,” Patterson said.
“Having experienced the Commonwealth Games before, I’m really excited to get over there, have fun and give it my all.
“The Games are getting bigger every time it is hosted. This is the biggest Para-sport inclusion at a Commonwealth Games that we’ve seen to date. We, as Para-athletes, don’t often get to experience major events like this alongside our able-bodied counterparts so it’s an incredible and inspiring experience.
“The Australian team that travels to the Commonwealth Games really comes together to show everyone in the Commonwealth what we have to offer. We gel so well as a team and the desire to succeed is stronger than ever.”
Veteran Matt Levy OAM returns for his second Games after winning gold in the men’s 50m freestyle S7 event at the Gold Coast.
Levy has competed at five editions of the Paralympic Games, from Athens 2004 to Tokyo 2020, where he has won three gold, one silver and six bronze medals.
Out of the pool Levy makes a significant contribution as co-chair of the CGA Athlete Advisory Group and is a member of the Commonwealth Games Federation Executive Board as a member of the Athletes Advisory Commission.
Rockhampton-born and Brisbane-raised William Martin OAM comes off an impressive Tokyo campaign, breaking two world records and a Paralympic record in the process, and will make his Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.
The 21-year-old suffered a stroke when he was six, resulting in vision impairment, a tremor in his right arm, and weakness down his right side, and took up swimming as a form of rehabilitation.
“It feels unreal that I’ll be heading over with some of the biggest names in swimming to Birmingham – it’s a dream come true,” Martin said.
“Looking back to 2018, I was one of the kids in the stands watching Australia go for gold, and now it’s my turn to have a crack and hopefully be someone who young kids can look up to and be inspired by.”
The Sunshine Coast’s Blake Cochrane OAM will become the first Australian Para-swimmer to compete at four Commonwealth Games when he goes to Birmingham.
A 13-time national champion, Cochrane, 31, has won four medals across freestyle, individual medley and breaststroke events at the Delhi 2010, Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Games.
Cochrane, who was born without fingers and toes and began swimming to combat asthma, is a Paralympic gold medallist in the breaststroke SB7, his event at the Birmingham Games.
New South Wales duo and Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipients Jasmine Greenwood and Oscar Stubbs are bound for Birmingham showcasing the success of the scholarship, named in honour of Kurt Fearnley AO, one of Australia’s greatest athletes.
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW joined forces in 2019 to create the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship program with the goal of providing additional financial support to talented individual Para-sport athletes based in NSW who were not receiving financial support elsewhere.
The scholarship’s financial support, coupled with the training support of the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) has allowed these youngsters to achieve one of their sporting dreams in making the team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
South Australian high school student Isabella Vincent at just 16-years-old is the youngest member of the Australian squad.
Born with sacral agenesis caudal regression syndrome, Vincent fell in love with swimming while receiving hydrotherapy for the rare disorder that impairs development of the lower spine.
To the thrill of her friends from Pembroke School in Adelaide, the 100m backstroke S8 competitor has shown great potential at national and international meets.
Vincent, whose social media account tag is “izzysuperfish”, is delighted to be among the 16 swimmers making their Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham.
She recently spoke at an event in Norwood alongside champion Australian basketballer Rachel Sporn and marathoner Sam Boag, praising them for helping to create “opportunities to participate in sport with ease”.
But it is Vincent who is now setting an example for other Australians, both in and out of the swimming pool, to aspire to and to shine.
Birmingham 2022 Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM praised the line-up of outstanding swimmers selected to represent the green and gold in Birmingham.
“Congratulations to the first 27 swimming Team Members who have been selected to the Australian Commonwealth Games team for the Birmingham Games,” Thomas said.
“After a successful Tokyo Paralympics campaign, our Dolphins have continued the hard work towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and today’s selections are a result of their commitment to their swimming.
“This is an exciting squad who are ready to take on the best swimmers from across the Commonwealth. The squad possesses a wonderful mix of veterans, including Blake Cochrane who becomes the first Para-Dolphin to be selected to four Commonwealth Games, through to the 16 Commonwealth Games debutants who will bring vigour and excitement to the team.
“The Commonwealth Games have been an important milestone in the careers of many of our swimmers, myself included when I won my first international gold medal at the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games.
“I am sure these 27 swimmers will cherish the opportunity to compete in the green and gold, and I know they will perform in a way that continues the proud legacy of the Australian Dolphins at the Commonwealth Games.”
Swimming Australia CEO Eugénie Buckley congratulated the swimmers on their selection.
“We are immensely proud of these athletes selected to compete in Birmingham,” Buckley said.
“Whether it’s your first time or your fourth, any opportunity to represent Australia on the international stage is a privilege and one I know this group will relish.
“Our athletes have played a central role in the rich history of success of Para-sport at the Commonwealth Games and it’s a record I’m sure they will add to in Birmingham.”
Commonwealth Games Australia and Swimming Australia will announce the selection of up to three more Team Members in the coming weeks, pending classification review.
The full Australian swimming contingent for Birmingham will be completed with the announcement of the able-bodied swimmers following the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide from 18-22 May.
Australian Swimming Team Coaches – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:
Brendan Burkett OAM
The Commonwealth’s finest swimmers are set to showcase their dynamic strength, speed, and technique as they make a splash at Birmingham 2022 where 54 swimming gold medals will be on offer.
Australia has won 732 total medals in swimming at the Commonwealth Games, including 306 gold medals, with Para-swimming events debuting at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Ben Austin OAM won Australia’s first Para-swimming gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August with the Swimming competition to be conducted from Friday 29 July to Wednesday 3 August, with the competition to be held at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
By: Commonwealth Games Australia
Posted: 5 May 2022