Ellie Simmonds: one swimmer, one race, one goal. And my hero

Eleanor May Simmonds. Some may call her a swimmer, some may call her a Paralympian but I call her my hero. Ellie Simmonds has completed many amazing things in her life so far: she is the youngest British swimmer to have ever competed at the Paralympics at only 13 years old; she is the youngest person to have ever received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) at 14 years old; in 2008 she won the BBC’s young sports personality of the year award at the age of 14.

The list goes on and on and it is fair to say Ellie Simmonds has achieved a lot in 26 years. Ellie Simmonds has competed in the 2008, 2012 and the 2016 Paralympics and she is set to go to the 2021 Olympics as well. She has won eight Olympic medals – five of them were gold.

Now by this point you have heard me use the word Paralympics and Paralympian and you may be wondering why she is a Paralympian and not an Olympian. Well that is because Ellie Simmonds had a medical condition called achondroplasia. What is achondroplasia you ask? Well achondroplasia is a medical condition that affects your height and in particular the length of your arms and legs. While your arms and legs are shorter your torso is a normal height.

When the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics took place I was only six years old so I wasn’t very interested in watching the games but now that I am 11 I am so excited this year to watch the Olympics and Paralympics. I am hoping that Britain can bring home a few gold medals and I especially hope that Ellie Simmonds will be able to defend her title of the 200m medley and keep her world record.

Some people may still be wondering why Ellie Simmonds is my hero so in this paragraph I will explain. You see, I am quite short for my age. I don’t have any medical conditions affecting my height I am just short. I also LOVE swimming. The feeling when you dive in the water whether it is morning or night, whether you are inside or outside, whether the pool is warm or cold.

The feeling just can’t be replaced. Every swimmer’s stroke is different and every swimmer can teach you something new. You can always achieve something more. You are never perfect when it comes to swimming and that is what I love. It is perfectly imperfect.

Ellie Simmonds has inspired me that no matter how tall or how small you are you can always achieve something great. You can always push yourself further. Watching Ellie Simmonds race inspires me, it feels like she is somehow showing me how to swim. Watching her glide on fly or watching her breaststroke pull-out, watching her race so amazingly well.

Watching her win so many gold, silver and bronze medals inspires me to work hard and she shows me that if you work hard every time you enter the pool, if every time you race you race harder than the time before you can be amazing. You can be a gold medallist. She showed me if you try hard you can do whatever you want.

And that is why Paralympian Eleanor May Simmonds is my hero.