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13 Questions: swimmer Ellie Simmonds

by Emma Tracey

3rd June 2010

Ellie Simmonds is a 15 year old maths-hating schoolgirl from Birmingham who loves shopping and watching TV. Oh, and she’s a pretty incredible swimmer.

Aged just 13, Ellie became a twice Paralympic gold medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. She was the youngest British athlete at the games. Her achievements have also earned her the title of 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and earned her an MBE in 2009.

We caught up with Ellie the day after she won yet another gold medal at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester to ask 13 Questions.
Ellie Simmonds

Uppermost in my mind today is ...

Getting home to Swansea. My mock GCSEs are coming up in a week so I need to revise and do lots of work. I’ve missed loads of school for training and have an English essay due.

People think I am ...

A good swimmer and that I cry. Everyone saw me cry with happiness after I won the Beijing medals. It’s really embarrassing.
Ellie Simmonds Racing

I'd like to ban...

Old people on the road. Whenever I’m driving to the pool and trying to be quick, there are always grannies going 2 miles an hour.

To chill out I like ...

Being on the settee all night watching TV. I love Come Dine With Me. The commentator is great. I’m also a bit of a shopaholic. I wear adult sizes but chop off the arms and legs. My mother has become a great seamstress but some of the harder ones she sends away.

I struggle with ...

Maths. I’m not good at it at all. At the moment at GCSE I’m on a grade E, but I’m working hard to get up to a C. It’s such a boring subject.
Ellie Simmonds Training with Children

I excel at ...

Falling asleep in the car. Oh, and singing badly. Cats scream and windows break when I sing!

Someone should invent ...

A time travelling thing so I can get from Swansea to Birmingham quickly. I stay in Swansea with my mum during the week to train. After training on Saturday morning, I head to Birmingham where my dad and sister live, and then travel back to Swansea on Sunday night.

I spend most of my time ...

Swimming. I train 16 to 18 hours a week, every day except Sundays.
Ellie Simmonds Beijing Paralympics

I started swimming ...

After watching the Athens Paralympics in 2004. I looked at the swimmers and thought, that’s cool. I want to do that. I was only nine but already a swimmer and had competed in the pool, just not with disabled people. When I couldn’t win anymore, we looked at disability competitions. Then, I was hitting the times but they wouldn’t let me join because I was 12 and the set age was 14. They changed the rules for me.  

Being a professional swimmer is ...

Really good. I love racing and I love to win. There are always people chasing you and trying to beat you and there are constantly new swimmers coming along. There’s a New Norwegian coming up fast at the moment.
Ellie Simmonds BBC sports personality of the year 2008

Winning a medal at the Beijing Paralympics...

Was a big surprise. To stand on that podium is the best feeling in the world.

My advice for prospective Paralympians is ...

Find a sport that you really like because if you don’t enjoy it you won’t be your best. And have fun.

In the future I ...

Can’t just be a swimmer in my life. I have to get a job because some day I’m going to turn old. In swimming, I want to do well at the world championships in August and retain my titles.

Bookmark with...

What are these?

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