Ellie Simmonds: Champion swimmer

Ellie Simmonds is an iconic Paralympic champion swimmer.

Her super speedy times in the pool, coupled with her hard-working attitude outside of it, made her one of the most globally-loved sports stars and the youngest recipient of an MBE in history.

Ellie's Paralympic dreams

Ellie Simmonds was born with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that can cause dwarfism.

She discovered her passion for swimming at five years old and was inspired to become a professional swimmer after watching the 2004 Paralympic Games.

"That was when I was really saying, 'Oh man, I really want to go to a Paralympics, I want to get a gold medal,'" Ellie recalled.

Ellie never let any challenge stop her from achieving her dreams and kept working hard, spending most of her days training the pool. ๐ŸŠโ€โ™€๏ธ

Due to her dwarfism, Ellie competes in the S6 disability category, which includes athletes with several different types of disability, such as cerebral palsy or amputated limbs.

She made a splash at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, where she was the youngest British athlete to compete.

Ellie performed much better than anyone expected, winning two golds in the 100m and 400m freestyle events. ๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅ‡

Following her amazing achievements, she was awarded BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year. ๐Ÿ†

Then, at 14 years and 50 days, she became the youngest recipient of an MBE ever, for her "services to disabled sport."

Four years after earning her MBE, Ellie was awarded an even higher honour - Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

"Work hard and be yourself"

- Ellie Simmonds

At the next Paralympic Games, in 2012, Ellie continued to impress, winning two gold medals in the 400m freestyleย and the 200m Individual Medley. ๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅ‡

A year later, at the National Open Short Course Championships in Sheffield, UK, Ellie broke the record for fastest swim short course 400 m freestyle - S6 (female) with a time of 5 minutes 27.58 seconds.

Another year later saw another record broken. In 2014, Ellie conquered the fastest swim short course 200 m individual medley - SM6 (female) in a time of 3 minutes 5.13 seconds. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Swimming from success to success, Ellie won her fifth Paralympic gold medal in the 200m Individual Medley at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ellie then broke one of her own records in 2019, completing the fastest swim 800 m freestyle โ€“ S6 (female) in 11 minutes 24.36 seconds.

After a long and successful swimming career, Ellie decided to call it quits after Tokyo 2020, where she missed out on winning a medal.

Ellie now devotes much of her time to important causes such as protecting our oceans.

As an ambassador for WaterAid, she raises awareness on the importance of conserving our oceans and marine wildlife. ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿ 

After spending much of her life in the water, Ellie is determined to make sure our oceans remain safe and healthy.

One thing you may be surprised to learn is that despite being such a good swimmer, she wasn't always comfortable in the ocean.

"Believe it or not, I actually used to be terrified of swimming in open water," Ellie reported on WaterAid's website. "But I conquered my fear when I took part in a television documentary a few years ago and fulfilled my lifelong ambition to swim with dolphins."

Ellie also works with other charities, such as the Dwarf Sports Association UK.