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Ellie Simmonds: Paralympic swimmer, dance star and record breaker, Ellie Simmonds: Paralympic swimmer, move star and record breaker

 

Ellie Simmonds: Paralympic swimmer, dance star and record breaker, Ellie Simmonds: Paralympic swimmer, move star and record breaker

Be it in the swimming pool or on the stage, former Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds has what it takes to be a winner.


Born Eleanor May Simmonds and better known as Britain's very own champion "Ellie" Simmonds, the swimmer left the pool behind and is now part of the roster of the 20th edition of Strictly Come Dancing.


On the show, Ellie and her dance partner Nikita Kuzmin have racked up success after success every Sunday night. 


The Guinness World Records 2023  Hall of Fame inductee and multi-record holder has quickly earned the respect of the judges and the love of the public, offering solid performances and extraordinary routines in every episode.


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The British athlete called time on her Paralympic career in 2021, but is surely no stranger to medals and success. 


During her career (but also out of the pool) she became a pioneer and an inspiration for values that span far wider than the world of competitive swimming.


But just how many records does Ellie Simmonds have, exactly?


Ellie in 2015, when she first appeared in the Guinness World Records book

Ellie in 2015, when she first appeared in the Guinness World Records book


Fastest swim short course 200 m freestyle - S6 (female)

The 27-year-old has no less than 10 World Championship titles and is known for her motto "work hard, be yourself".


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Ellie's debut took place in 2008 at the Summer Paralympics in Beijing. 


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She was on top on practically every scoreboard after that, breaking several records and inspiring the general public with her lovable attitude, continuous dedication and jaw-dropping athletic skills.


She achieved her first Guinness World Records title in 2009.


A year after her debut she broke the record for the fastest swim short course 200 m freestyle - S6 with the timing of 2 minutes and 44.21 seconds, the fastest ever achieved by a female para swimmer.


Together with the many wins at Beijing, that success kickstarted a promising career and confirmed that the young athlete was going to be no stranger to accolades and records.



Fastest swim 800 m freestyle – S6 (female)

Only three years after her debut in the pool Ellie earned herself a new record title. 


In 2011, she broke the record for the fastest 800 m freestyle (S6 category) by a female para swimmer for the first time - a record that she would then proceed to better on another occasion.


During that time she was competing in Berlin, Germany, and achieved 11 minutes 24.36 seconds. 


Fast forward to June 2019, the champion would go on and solidify that record, setting another best time for the category during the International German Championships. 


This time, the athlete completed the 800m freestyle event in only 11 minutes and 3.41 seconds.



The London 2012 Paralympic Games

A force of nature, the competitive swimmer proceeded to collect more records during the 2012 London Games.


Under the eyes of the entire world she broke for the first time the record for fastest swim200 m individual medley - SM6 (female). 


On that occasion Ellie finished with a time of 3 min 05.39 sec, which placed her on top and almost nine seconds clear of her nearest rival.


Although she broke the same record during the Rio Games of 2016, further bettering her time, fellow UK swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton proceeded to snatch the title in 2018.


Currently, the time for the fastest 200 m individual medley achieved by a female para swimmer in the SM6 category is 2 minutes 56.68 seconds and was established in 2021, once again by Maisie Summers-Newton. 


The record was broken during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.


Ellie in the pool at the London games


Fastest swim short course 400 m freestyle - S6 (female)

A year after the London Games, Ellie put a stamp on another record. 


This time the swimmer claimed the title for the fastest swim short course 400 m freestyle - S6 ever achieved by a female para swimmer. 


The record was set in November 2013, when Ellie achieved a time of 5 minutes 27.58 seconds during the National Open Short Course Championships in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.


In December 2014, yet another UK pool saw the powerhouse swimmer soar above her competition and collect another GWR title.


The athlete achieved the record for the fastest swim short course 200 m individual medley - SM6 (female), making a splash with a time of 3 minutes and 5.13 seconds. 


The record was achieved at Swansea, West Glamorgan, UK.


Ellie received an MBE in 2008, and an OBE in 2012

Ellie received an MBE in 2008, and an OBE in 2012


Youngest Recipient of an MBE

Perhaps one of Ellie’s most famous records and her only one outside the pool, the then up-and-coming athlete became the youngest recipient of an MBE ever.


Her acknowledgement was announced in The Gazette on 31 December 2008, when she was only 14 years and 50 days old.


She was recognized as a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire thanks to her "services to disabled sport": that didn't only further stress Ellie's importance in shaping the world of Paralympic competitive swimming, but it confirmed her weight in the world of Paralympic sports in general.


Ellie’s MBA was elevated to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (also known as an OBE) in 2012.


She became a role model, and embraces that responsibility to this day.



Ellie has achondroplasia, which is a genetic mutation that can be passed from parent to child or develop spontaneously in the child. 


This impairs a specific protein called fibroblast growth factor receptor, causing shorter bones and stature. 


It's considered the most common form of skeletal dysplasia, as well as the main cause of dwarfism in the UK. 


Due to her achondroplasia, Ellie used to swim in the S6 category and underwent surgery when she was only 12, with four metal plates implanted in her legs. 


However, as she proved recently on the stage of Strictly, her talents lie in many sports and she is capable of mesmerizing the audience in and out of the water. 



Ellie has also recently starred in a documentary, Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism?, that explores the different takes on "a controversial new drug that promises to help children with dwarfism grow closer to average height". 


Although the drug has been approved and is free to be used in the US, in Britain selected families are still testing it. 


As she declared during an interview with This Morning, Ellie wanted to know more about the drug and get involved, "learning about the families and their big decision to go on it."


Thanks to a positive mentality and relentless efforts, Ellie has truly made the most of her athletic capabilities. 


We are honored to welcome her in our Hall of Fame 2023, celebrating the sports accomplishments she collected through the years while also becoming a presenter, a public figure, and continuously raising awareness on dwarfism and achondroplasia.

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