Matthew Marles - 5 October 2013
Before the 14th Australian Masters Games 63-year-old Elizabeth Edmondson and 54-year-old Jillian Pateman had never met, but now they consider each other great mates.
The swimming competitors come from very different backgrounds. Pateman from the Blue Mountains has travelled with her partner, whilst Edmondson has made the long trip over the Nullabor from the Perth suburb of Yokine.
Edmondson’s is a remarkable story. She was diagnosed with polio at the age of 15 months. But that did not stop her. She started swimming when she was five and went on to represent Australia at the 1964 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“I won three gold medals and broke three world records at those Games. I was at 14, the youngest Australian ever to win gold at the Paralympics and that record lasted for 48 years.”
She won gold in 50m freestyle and backstroke (S7 discipline) and 50m breastroke (S8) in Tokyo and later broke two more world records.
This is Edmondson’s fourth Australian Masters Games, after first competing in 2006. She has also participated in the World Masters Games in Sydney and the FINA Championships in Perth.
Meanwhile Pateman is just hoping to achieve a personal best- attempting to do this in the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle as well as competing in a relay.
Pateman is a passionate swimmer, exemplified by her job with Masters Swimming New South Wales. She just loves everything about it. From competing, cheering on other participants and forming new friendships.
“The Games is a perfect opportunity to have a holiday away from home and to try something rather special and different.
A real added bonus for both of us to come down and compete.” Pateman said, revealing that her partner, Jim Barber is participating in archery later in the week and his supporting her in the lead up to his event.
When asked why they loved the Games Edmondson responded with,
“I love the fun, the competition and the spirit of the Games. Also they give people with a disability an equal chance to swim against normal people.”
Pateman agreed with her,
“The friendships you make, meeting new people, and for older people to have a sporting chance. This epitomizes what the Australian Masters Games are all about.”
The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit -
To help deliver the trip of a lifetime, is Australian owned and operated boutique travel company, All Sports Travel, appointed as the official travel partner for the 2021 Australian Masters Games.
The team set to deliver the 2021 Australian Masters Games is starting to take shape, with the captain - Games general manager Kirsten Drower leading preparations.
We're heading west! The next Australian Masters Games will take place in Perth in 2021.