Superstar Ellie Simmonds returns to the pool in style

Multiple Paralympic Games medal winner Ellie Simmonds, who is now with the Nova Centurion squad.
Multiple Paralympic Games medal winner Ellie Simmonds, who is now with the Nova Centurion squad.

One of Britain’s superstars of Paralympic sport, Ellie Simmonds, has bounced back to her best form with the Mansfield-based Nova Centurion Nottinghamshire county squad.

Simmonds, who only joined Nova Centurion a few months ago, won three gold medals at the Para Swimming National Championships, held at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

A multiple medal winner at the Paralympic Games, including at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016, the 23-year-old was resuming her swimming career at this level of competition after taking a year-long break.

And it could hardly have gone better for her as she won the 100m breaststroke in a time of one minute, 40.37 seconds, the 50m freestyle in 36.74 and the 200m individual medley in 3.12.29 for a hat-trick in her class (the S6 disability category) and age group (18 years and over).

Simmonds, who was BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2008, became the youngest person ever to receive the MBE the following year and was elevated to OBE in 2013 for services to Paralympic sport.

Meanwhile two of her new Nova Centurion colleagues also swam with huge credit at the championships, including 15-year-old Isla Howe, who won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle. She also recorded three fourth places in the 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Isla Gordon, who is 11, took home a bronze medal too after finishing third in the 100m backstroke. She was also fourth in the 50m freestyle.

IN the week that he was crowned Mansfield’s junior disabled sportsperson of the year, swimmer Ben Foulston also picked up three medals at the Para Swimming National Championships.

The 17-year-old Foulston won golds after finishing first in the 50m freestyle and 200m individual medley in his class and age group at the championships. He also bagged silver in the 100m freestyle.

Two bronze medals were won by one of Foulston’s teammates in the Nova Centurion Nottinghamshire county squad. Ted Smiley, who is 16, finished third in the 100m freestyle and the 50m freestyle in his class and age group.