Col Pearse is a swimmer and Paralympian who was awarded a Tier 2 Scholarship within the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.
Col was born in Echuca in 2002 and once used the dam on his family farm as a training facility. He competes in the S10 classification after his right foot was amputated following a collision with a ride-on mower at age two.
Col participated in many sports as a child and has been swimming for as long as he has been walking, but started swimming competitively in 2012 and has competed at state, national and international level.
In 2017, Col set five S10 national records in the U/13 age group, and in 2019 he won four gold medals at the Australian Age Swimming Championships, plus another four at the national championships in backstroke, butterfly, freestyle and breaststroke. The same year, he broke the Oceania record on his way to winning bronze in the S10 100m butterfly at the World Para Swimming Championships as a 16-year-old.
Col’s preparation for his first Paralympic Games was severely disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His local pool was closed, so the family converted the farm’s dam into a makeshift lap pool which was named the ‘Pearse Aquatic Centre’. Col then won bronze in the S10 100m butterfly in Tokyo and was fourth in the SM10 200m medley.
Outside of swimming, Col enjoys spending time on his family farm, watching basketball with his friends and learning new sports such as golf.
“I always feel proud and honoured when I am recognised for my swimming and being notified of my successful application by SAHOF is an honour and I am truly grateful to be given this Scholarship. This Scholarship will assist in helping me make the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic swim team and give me the opportunity of a lifetime.” – Col Pearse on being selected as a 2021 Tier 2 Scholarship Holder.
“The bigger the dream, the harder the grind”
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2017: Five S10 U13 National Age Records
- 2019: World Para Swimming Championship, London – Bronze, 100m Fly and broke the Oceania Record
- 2019: Australian Swim Team Debut
- 2019: Hancock Prospecting Australian Championship – 7th, 100m Fly
- 2019: Hancock Prospecting Short Course Swimming Championship – 3rd, 100m Fly
- 2019: Australian Age Swimming Championship, Multi Class – 1st, 400m Free, 100m Back, 100m Fly, 100m Breaststroke
- 2019: Australian Age Swimming Championship – 45th, 100m Fly; competed against able bodied Athletes
- 2019: Nationals, 15-16yr old boys multi class Australian Age Champion – 4 gold medals (100m Fly, 100m Back, 100m Breast, 400m Free)
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – bronze, men’s 100m butterfly (S10)
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Paralympic Games – fourth, men’s 200m medley (SM10)
- 2021: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship Holder – Tier 2
“I would like to congratulate Col, Katja and Brendon on this terrific achievement, we are incredibly proud to have three swimmers selected in the program for 2021.
Both Col and Katja are already valued members of our Dolphins swim team and Brendon is a young swimmer that has shown great potential and they should be thrilled they have been chosen for this honour.
It is fantastic these athletes will also have the opportunity to be mentored by a Sport Australia Hall of Fame member, that sort of guidance from someone who has been at the pinnacle of their sport is priceless.” – Swimming Australia CEO, Leigh Russell