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41183-Ellie Challis photo

Ellie Challis

Swimming

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
S3, SB2, SM3

Further personal information

Residence
Manchester, ENG
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age eight at Colchester Phoenix swimming club in England.
Why this sport?
She was inspired to swim after watching a dolphin named Winter, whose tail was amputated after getting caught in a crab trap. "She swims differently to all the other dolphins."
Club / Team
National Performance Centre Manchester: England
Name of coach
Graeme Smith [national], GBR

General interest

Hobbies
Snowboarding, socialising with friends and family, baking. (sportsaid.org.uk, 28 Feb 2019; thesun.co.uk, 24 Feb 2019; swimming.org, 21 Apr 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning bronze in the S3 50m backstroke at the 2019 World Championships in London, England. (meningitisnow.org, 03 Oct 2019)
Hero / Idol
British Para swimmers Ellie Simmonds and Ellie Robinson. (sportsaid.org.uk, 28 Feb 2019; Olympic YouTube channel, 16 Jan 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She often arrives at competitions on her blue scooter, which she calls 'Whirly'. (SportsAidUK YouTube channel, 30 Mar 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You have to find something you love to keep you fit." (meningitisnow.org, 03 Oct 2019)
Awards and honours
She won the Para swimming Talent Athlete of the Year award for 2019 at the Swim England National Awards. (swimming.org, 02 Dec 2019)

In 2019 she received the One-to-Watch award from SportsAid. (swimming.org, 20 Nov 2019)

She received the Young Hero award and overall Amplifon Award at the 2019 Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons. (Amplifon UK & EIRE Facebook page, 28 Apr 2020)

In 2018 she won the Inspirational Youth Award at the Pride of Essex Awards in England. (gazette-news.co.uk, 28 Feb 2019)
Impairment
She had all four limbs amputated as a result of contracting viral meningitis at 16 months old. (Olympic YouTube channel, 16 Jan 2019; clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk, 07 Jun 2019)
Other information
FROM IDOL TO TEAMMATE
She says that competing alongside her idol Ellie Simmonds at the 2019 World Championships in London, England, ranks among the best moments of her career. "I looked up to Ellie Simmonds. To be selected for worlds and to be on a team with this amazing person that I watched on the TV at London 2012 and Rio 2016 was incredible. Things like when I put pictures on Instagram and she messages me congratulating me and talking to me at camps are unbelievable. She's just a normal person, but I look up to her so much. For her, as the person who inspired me to get into the sport, to be one of the people who I see regularly is quite crazy to me." (gazette-news.co.uk, 12 Mar 2020)

PANDEMIC POSITIVES
She says the break from competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic helped her to progress as a swimmer. "When Covid hit and everything got delayed, actually it was good for me. For me, at my age, it gave me an extra year to train. I ended up moving to Manchester [to the National Performance Centre] and being able to train here, which had been the plan for after Tokyo but it happened before because the Paralympic Games were delayed. I improved so much in that year because I was with such good coaches in Manchester, that I think without it, I don't know what would have happened." (walesonline.co.uk, 11 Mar 2022)