Ellie Cole, a 17-year-old member of the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Diving squad, laughs as she admits to receiving invitations to attend incredible events because the organisers have mistaken her for the Ellie Cole – Australia’s distinguished Paralympian swimming champion.

However, NSWIS Head Coach Chava Sobrino [who photographed the Ellie Coles together] insists, in time, people will be inviting the young diver to ritzy functions because – like him – they’ll appreciate the talented teenager oozes a rare star quality.

“Ellie is an up-and-coming athlete with a lot of talent; she’s a special project we have at NSWIS,” Sobrano enthused. “She shares the same name as the great Paralympic swimmer, but we all expect to hear a lot about [‘our’ Ellie].

“Her style is very aesthetic . . . it’s very powerful . . . she enters the water beautifully. When you see her in the air, it’s like looking at artwork. It’s as if someone has drawn a beautiful picture. Very artistic, and there isn’t a lot of people around the world who are like that in the air.

“She’s one to look out for.”

Cole, who was born in New Jersey, the USA, to an American father and a mother with Indigenous Australian and Ukrainian bloodlines, took up the sport when a friend suggested she give it a whirl.

“And I thought to myself: ‘why not,’” said Cole with a laugh about finding the courage to climb to the top of the 10m platform tower. I found that I really like flipping in the air because I feel free but in control at the same time . . . there is so much to do, yet it’s simple.

“It’s kind of like an art and I like to think it’s pretty. It’s also a lot of fun to do, and I love to push myself. And sometimes it’s scary, but once you get over that fear its great fun.”

“Now it’s so exciting because so many opportunities have opened up for me through diving and I’m really excited by what they could be.”

And while her future is bright, Cole, who is preparing to compete in the senior meets, the USA International in Indianapolis and then the Canada Cup in Calgary, has not had an easy run.

Three years ago she was sidelined by a debilitating stress fracture in her back, and while such a long term injury would have pushed others to quit, she gritted her teeth and pushed on – despite having her two comebacks over the ensuing two years foiled by endless rehabilitation after being told she’d returned too soon.

Her supporters cite Cole’s determination to battle on through the frustration as an insight into her strength of character and reservoir resilience.

The Year 12 student is just as committed to her studies as she is perfecting her dives because despite an exhaustive training schedule that goes for up to 20 hours a week, Cole is studying extension mathematics, extension English, physics and chemistry. It’s the groundwork she needs to do to study physics at university.

Indeed, her resume includes that she took out the school’s Year 10 Young Scientists award, while you can find on the internet the video she and her classmate Stamatia Galanos were awarded the 2019 USYD (National) Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize for a short film they made called Fish Fiasco, a three minute investigation in the effects of plastics in the world’s oceans.

However, at training and in competition Cole is pursuing perfection because she knows if someone chases perfection they can catch excellence.

“You know you can’t be perfect, but trying to achieve perfection is the goal,” she said. “I’m still very new to the sport and that’s the goal; it’s what I’m searching for. That pursuit motivates me.”

Daniel Lane, NSWIS

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.