Ellie Simmonds

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Ellie Simmonds
Ellie Simmonds 2008 Olympic Parade.jpg
Simmonds in 2008 age 13, celebrating her success in Beijing
Personal information
Full nameEleanor May Simmonds
Born (1994-11-11) 11 November 1994 (age 24)
Walsall, England
Height4 ft 0 in (1.23 m)
Weight99 lb (45 kg)
Disability classS6, SM6, SB6
Event(s)freestyle, individual medley, breaststroke
ClubBoldmere Swimming Club; Swansea Performance Centre; Loughborough University
Coached bySteve Bayley

Eleanor May Simmonds, OBE (born 11 November 1994[1]) is a British Paralympian swimmer competing in S6 events. She came to national attention when she competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13. In 2012, she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, this time swimming at a home games in London. She won another two golds in London, including setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle, and a further gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, this time setting a world record for the 200m medley.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Walsall, Simmonds grew up in the Metropolitan Walsall Borough of Aldridge. She completed her primary education at Cooper and Jordan CofE Primary[2] before attending Aldridge School and later Olchfa School in Swansea.[3] Simmonds, who has achondroplasia, became interested in swimming at the age of five.[4] She swam for Boldmere Swimming Club in Sutton Coldfield, under Head Coach Ashley Cox, but she and her mother moved to Swansea when Simmonds was 11 to take advantage of the city's world-class swimming pool.[4][5] Simmonds has 3 sisters and a brother.


At the age of 13, Simmonds was the youngest British athlete[6] at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, competing in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly, and 200m Individual Medley.[7] She won gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle events.[8]

On 1 September 2012, Simmonds repeated her gold performance to win the 400m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, in which she took five seconds off the World Record time.[9] Two days later, on the evening of 3 September, she took Gold in the 200m Individual Medley, breaking the World Record that she had set in the qualifying round that morning.[10]

On 12 September 2016, at the Rio Paralympics, Ellie defended her Gold medal for the 200m individual medley setting a new world record, the first below 3 minutes at 2:59.81[11] Simmonds also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle at the 2016 paralympics.

In addition, Simmonds has won ten gold World Championship titles.[1]

She swims in the S6 disability category.

Honours and awards[edit]

Simmonds won the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Simmonds was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.[12] At 14 years old, she became the youngest person ever to have received this honour.[13] She received the honour from Queen Elizabeth II on 18 February 2009.[14] In March 2012, in the 200 m individual medley, she became the first swimmer to break a world record at London's Aquatics Centre. Her victory in a time of 3:08.14 broke her own previous best time by over half a second.[15]

In 2011, Simmonds won the award for 'Best British Sporting Performance for an Athlete with Disability' at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards.[16] At the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London Simmonds won four medals, two golds, a silver and a bronze. She took gold in the S6 400m with a new world record; gold in the S6 200m again with a new world record; silver in the S6 100m and a bronze in the S6 50m. In celebration of her two gold medals, two Royal Mail postboxes were painted gold in her honour, one in Aldridge and one in Swansea.

Simmonds was elevated to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to Paralympic sport.[17]


Simmonds is very involved with charity work, with much of her focus being on sports, young people and water.


Simmonds is a patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, along with swimmer Matthew Whorwood. Simmonds says of the charity, "It’s a charity that supports people of short stature and helps them get into sport. One of the highlights of the year is the convention we have in the spring. There’s everything from power lifting to athletics."[18]

In January 2019, Simmonds was appointed to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee board.[19]

Young People[edit]

Simmonds is an ambassador for The Scout Association.

She is also a Girlguiding leader in Manchester, where her nickname is Aqua Owl.


Simmonds is a WaterAid ambassador.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Eleanor Simmonds". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Ellie Simmonds makes a splash at her former primary school". Express & Star. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Olympic bronze medalist Joanne Jackson visits Walsall school". Walsall Advertiser. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2016.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Brown, Oliver (15 September 2012). "Ellie Simmonds, golden girl of the Paralympics, says she will never forget the feeling and doesn't want it to end". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Paralympian Ellie Simmonds Swansea gold postbox honour". BBC News. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  6. ^ "GB squad takes shape". Disability Now. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
  7. ^ "GB Swimming Team Biographies". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
  8. ^ Davies, Gareth A. (15 September 2008). "Eleanor Simmonds claims two swimming gold medals at 2008 Beijing Paralympics". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  9. ^ Hudson, Elizabeth (1 September 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Ellie Simmonds wins gold in world record". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Golden girl Simmonds shines again". London 2012 Paralympics. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Simmonds wins gold and makes history". BBC. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  12. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 22.
  13. ^ "Sport stars lead New Year Honours". BBC News. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  14. ^ "Swimmer Ellie receives MBE at 14". BBC News. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  15. ^ Hope, Nick (8 March 2012). "Ellie Simmonds sets first Aquatics Centre world record". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  16. ^ Jaguar Academy of Sport. "Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards". Archived from the original on 28 May 2013.
  17. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24.
  18. ^ The Guardian. "The Guardian".
  19. ^ "Four new appointments complete Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Board | Birmingham 2022". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tom Daley
BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Tom Daley