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19 August, 2021 Sport & Outdoor Ed

Col takes on Tokyo 2020

The St Michael’s community is counting down the days to watch Year 12 student Col compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

At just 18 years old, Col (12B) is set to compete against the world’s best para swimmers in the S10 Men’s 100m Butterfly, S10 Men’s 100m Backstroke, and the SM10 Men’s 200m Individual Medley. See all of Col’s heat and potential final times below, which can be streamed live on the 7plus website:

Event, date and session times

Men’s 100m Butterfly (S10 Heats) – Tuesday 31 August, 11:30am AEST

Men’s 100m Butterfly (S10 Final) – Tuesday 31 August, 7:46pm AEST – Bronze medallist

Men’s 100m Backstroke (S10 Heats) –  Thursday 2 September, 10:50am AEST

Men’s 100m Backstroke (S10 Final) – Thursday 2 September, 6:35pm AEST

Men’s 200m Individual Medley (SM10 Heats) – Friday 3 September, 10am AEST

Men’s 200m Individual Medley (SM10 Final) – Friday 3 September, 6pm AEST

Tokyo will be a dream come true. I moved to Melbourne at the age of 14 away from my family, with the goal of one day making the Paralympic Team. All those long hours in the pool, early mornings, late nights and pushing your body to its limits, will have all paid off.Col, to the Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Col takes on Tokyo 2020
    Col holds a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Col takes on Tokyo 2020
    Col and teammates in the official Tokyo 2020 swimwear

Col grew up on a dairy farm in Bamawm, near the town of Echuca approximately 200km north of Melbourne. After taking up competitive swimming in 2012, Col’s career has moved from strength to strength.

In 2016, Col was selected as a member of the Australian Paralympic Development Squad. In 2017, he recorded five new S10 national age records. In 2019, Col won four gold medals at the Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships and for the first time was selected for the Australian swim team. Col then competed at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London, where the then-16-year-old won the bronze medal and broke the Oceania Record in the S10 men’s 100m butterfly. Col also achieved sixth place in the S10 men’s 100m backstroke and SM10 men’s 200m individual medley.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Victoria in March 2020, Col faced uncertainty in his training schedule, future swim meets, and whether the Tokyo Games would go ahead at all.  However, Col met the challenges of the pandemic with creativity and passion.

Returning home to his family’s dairy farm, Col did what was necessary to keep training. With the help of his family and friends, Col turned the home carport into a gym, and their dam into a makeshift 50m pool. “We used steel fence posts on some wooden creates as the wall and created lane ropes by connecting some milk bottles together with hay string.” Col told the VIS.

When you love the sport that much, you'll do anything to train.Col, to the VIS
  • Col takes on Tokyo 2020
    Col in the dam at Bamawm
  • Col takes on Tokyo 2020
    Col in the garage gym

With the creation of his new home gym and pool, Col worked virtually with his coaches in Melbourne to continue his training schedule, with his mum Teena picking up coaching duties at home.

Col has shown incredible resilience and determination to get to the Tokyo Games, especially as he is also completing his VCE in 2021.

“I’m spending over 20 hours a week with swimming commitments, and over 40 hours with school commitments,” Col told the VIS earlier this year. But with the support of his teachers, coaches, friends and family, Col has been able to stay on top of his schoolwork, training and secured his well-earned place in the Paralympic team.

Col’s dream for Tokyo is to win gold in his favoured event, the 100m butterfly. The whole of St Michael’s will be cheering you on, Col!