18-year-old British Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson was born with a rare type of dwarfism Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia. In November 2012 she was diagnosed with Perthes hip disease. Despite her disability, Ellie has won One Gold, Two Silvers and Three Bronze medals at the European Championships alongside a Commonwealth Games Gold and two medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Ellie has been positive with regards her disrupted training regime.
“We are just trying to do what we can, as obviously being a swimmer it’s quite difficult to train without a pool.” she said. “So, we are doing squad gym sessions and one on one sessions with my coach. We are also doing a fair bit of cycling just to keep my power and my fitness as well.”
2020 was looking to be a big year for Ellie, with the Paralympics in Rio giving her another chance to return with some medals. But due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the games were cancelled and moved to next year.
With most athletes this would prove to be a huge disappointment, but Ellie is grateful for the extra year’s preperation.
“I’m actually quite happy about it, as I’m actually trying to look at the extra year in the pool and an opportunity to work on my 50 fly in more detail and my freestyle and an extra year to develop as an athlete.” she said. “So really, I’m looking to build on what I had in off season and carry that forward for another year.” she added.
Ellie won Gold in Rio 2016, and thoroughly enjoyed her time in Brazil.
“It was fantastic, but for me I really enjoyed the experiences.” she said. “I loved going to an athlete village and experiencing the food hall and having all these athletes from all these different countries just coming together and the little things inside the village like the laundry service that you just don’t get used to doing every day and this bubble that you are in, it is just a really great environment to be in.”
Paralympic sport has certainly come on leaps and bounds in the past ten years. Ellie puts this down to a lot of athletes who starred at London 2012.
“Ellie Simmons has defiantly played a massive roll in that. “she said. “London 2012 did a lot for Para sport and I think Ellie’s success in London and Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft and so many others really did a lot for the sport. It’s defiantly for elite athletes and it’s really got that credibility that the Olympics has as well and it’s really about performance and is just as competitive as Olympic sport now.”
In 2017 Ellie was awarded an MBE for swimming. Ellie was understandably pleased to accept this honour.
“It was really good, because a lot of the time with sport it’s kind off all about times and performances in the pool.” she said. “There is a lot of pressure on sport, and once the games has finished, it’s really nice to experience all these nice things in the team, to see the success of the team and to celebrate your own as well because a lot of the time sports people are always striving to the next thing. So, to have things like MBE’s and winning awards like that allows people to sit down and reflect on what they have done.”
Ellie offered some good advice to anybody suffering with a disability who would be looking to take up a sport.
“Find something that makes you happy.” she said. “Because for me it was racing and being competitive. Find something new that you really enjoy working hard at, because for me swimming is difficult, but I enjoy the challenge. Speak to as many people as you can, look for places to do sport and a lot of the time they will have county organisations for where you are.”
Full interview with Ellie Robinson