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This world-class athlete made it to the top of the podium at the highest level of sport. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, she first developed her strong athletic skills with Superior Athletics, competing in both running and swimming.

Her first taste of success came in 1995, winning a bronze medal in the 100m sprint at the Canadian Cerebral Sports Nationals. Her speed on the track took her to international competitions, winning multiple medals at such events as the 1999 Southern Cross Multi-Disability Games in Australia.

Joining the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts in 1997, she was soon making a name for herself at the national and world level in the pool. At just sixteen years of age, she represented her country at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. Competing in the S8 classification, she claimed a silver medal in the 100m butterfly and a gold medal as part of the world-record setting 4x100 freestyle relay team, the first Paralympic gold medal won by a female born in northwestern Ontario.

Swimming with the Thunderbolts and the London Aquatic Club, she was a regular podium finisher. Included amongst her multiple national medals are seven gold from the 2001 USA Swimming Disability Championships and double gold and double silver from the 2002 Canadian Summer Nationals. At the 2007 Para Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, she won one silver and five gold medals. At International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships, she won a bronze medal in the 200m IM and silver in the 100m medley relay in 2002 and a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle in 2006.

A three-time Paralympian, she won a bronze medal in the 100m butterfly and a silver medal as part of the 4x100 metre freestyle team in Athens in 2004 and swam a personal best in the 400m freestyle finals in Beijing in 2008.

Earning over thirty medals throughout her career, she received close to two dozen honours and awards from the local to the national level for her outstanding contributions to sport. Following her competitive career, she turned her attention to coaching, serving as head coach of the Killer Whales Special Olympic Swim Team and providing instruction with the Thunderbolts, serving as a source of inspiration to the next generation of swimming stars.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 2013

Andrea Cole

Thunder Bay
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