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Ellie Simmonds makes a splash at her former primary school

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Paralympic hero Ellie Simmonds dropped in to surprise pupils at her former primary school.

Cooper and Jordan Church of England Primary School's children got a shock when Miss Simmonds came into discuss her successes as an international swimmer.

She talked about the determination and endurance she has needed to bag five gold medals at three different Paralympic Games.

Miss Simmonds, who was awarded an OBE in 2009, said: "It was so good going back. It was four years since I have been there and it was a really relaxed. I first did an assembly with the junior and infant school and then I went around each class. Some of it's changed from four years ago but it's still lovely."

The school's swimming pool was named in honour of their star former pupil four years ago.

Miss Simmonds also visited the University of Wolverhampton – who said they were 'delighted' to welcome her back to their Walsall campus.

And Miss Simmonds said: "I remember being able to swim and having that amazing facility in my school. A lot of schools have to travel to learn how to swim. (Cooper and Jordan pupils) just walk out and they have got a pool."

Miss Simmonds has recently moved back to Aldridge and said her focus, after ten years of international competition, is travelling. After that, she will begin to focus on the next Paralympics, in Tokyo in 2020.

Headteacher Keith Farquhar said: "Ellie is a fantastic role model for our children and is a great example of a light that shines in our community. It was wonderful that all our children were able to meet her."

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Miss Simmonds, who is from Aldridge and is now 22, became Britain's youngest ever athlete in 2008 when she competed in the Paralympics in Beijing. She won the 100m and 400m freestyle events aged just 13.

Four years later in 2012 she won the 400m freestyle race – slicing four seconds off the world record time. And then she took gold in the 200m individual medley, breaking a world record she had set on the same day.

Earlier this year at the Rio Paralympics in Brazil, she defended her 200m individual medley, breaking a new world record, and clinching a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle.

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