For Castle Hill Dolphins athlete Ellie Cole, swimming is an escape but she will be back in the spotlight when she competes at the National Paralympic Day in London.
Cole is a leg amputee athlete — a survivor of sarcoma — and uses swimming as a way to escape discomfort.
"I wear a prosthetic leg during the day and it's uncomfortable and I know it's there but at swimming it's an escape for a couple of hours," she said. "I think what I really like about swimming is even though I'm missing a leg I can get in and I don't feel any different.
"People sometimes don't even notice that I am missing a leg."
Despite barely swimming while recovering from surgery on both shoulders, Cole was selected in the 50-metre and 100-metre freestyle and the 100-metre backstroke for the London meet celebrating the 2012 Paralympic Games.
"This is a 2012 Olympics anniversary event and they invited one person from every country to compete there, " Cole said.
"I was surprised I was selected because I haven't competed in two years due to a double shoulder reconstruction."
Cole, a quadruple Paralympic gold medal winner, knows she will need to swim fast to win.
"For the 100-metre backstroke I'm not sure I can race it yet because I don't have the full range in my shoulder," Cole said.
"I did win that event in London so I'm a bit anxious about that one."
Due to her injuries and age, relative to other competitive swimmers, Cole has changed her training blocks to ease the pressure on her body.
"I've been competing for Australia since I was 14," Cole said.
"So, at 22, I'm considered the grandma of the swimming team, which isn't something I like to hear but I bring experience to the team and at Dolphins, where I work as a coach.
"I like to teach the younger swimmers the tricks of the trade.
"I do about three pool sessions per week but I do a lot of cross-training including gym, cycling and wheelchair basketball."
The National Paralympic Day: International Paralympic Swimming event is on August 30.