Cole beaming as Paralympics career ends

Ellie Cole has confirmed her Paralympic career is over after winning 17 medals from four Games.
Ellie Cole has confirmed her Paralympic career is over after winning 17 medals from four Games.

Declaring "once a Paralympian, always a Paralympian", record-breaking Australian swimmer Ellie Cole is going out on top.

The 29-year-old's international swimming career ended on Thursday night when won bronze as a member of the 4x100 medley relay team.

That, and her silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay, gave Cole 17 Paralympic medals - making her Australia's most decorated female Paralympian.

The six-time gold medallist has one more medal than fellow swimmer Priya Cooper, who won nine gold.

"It was such a special night ... It was nine days of gruelling competition. You always forget how tiring a Paralympics is," the four-time Paralympian told Channel Seven.

"But to be able to share my 17th medal with a relay team as well as to stand on the podium next to one of the all-time greatest swimmers in the whole Paralympic movement in (American) Jess Long, it was just such a fairytale ending to my Paralympic journey.

"I haven't stopped smiling, I'm so proud to be a Paralympian.

"Once a Paralympian, always a Paralympian and I have some very treasured memories of my time on this team."

Australian Associated Press