Ellen Keane

European Paraswimmimg Champion 2018. Paralympic Games Medallist 2016

Three Time Paralympian: 23-year-old native of Clontarf, Dublin is a three-time Paralympic Swimmer. Ireland’s youngest Paralympic athlete at 13, when she swam in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games making the final in the 100m breaststroke.

Medal Haul: Claimed bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the Rio Paralympic Games, 2016. Won the breaststroke and secured bronze in the 200m Individual Medley at the 2018 European Paraswimmimg Championships. The Dubliner is also a multiply World medallist winning three bronze medals in total.

Voice for Disability: A strong voice for Paralympic Sport she also advocates for greater visibility of disability across all mediums.  Columnist with the Irish Times Platform, a new weekly column by writers with a disability. She also delivers a key note speech on positive body image.

Foodie & Fashionista: Studying Culinary Entrepreneurship in DIT, Ellen has a passion for healthy food and is a mean baker too! Loves style & fashion and is still on the hunt for the ultimate waterproof mascara.

Key Achievements

  • 2017: Won numerous medals at the World Para Swimming Series
  • 2016: Bronze at the Rio Paralympic Games, in the 100m breaststroke 2016 and made finals in both the Backstroke and Butterfly swimming personal bests in both.
  • 2015: In Glasgow in 2015, she took a bronze medal in the 200m Individual Medley final(SM9) setting a new lifetime best.
  • 2014: After completing her Leaving Certificate, she had three 4th place finishes at the IPC European Championships and swim two lifetime bests at the European Championships in Eindhoven.
  • 2013: IPC World Championships in Montreal won two Bronze medals
  • 2012: Paralympic Games in London made three finals.
  • 2008: Became Ireland’s youngest Paralympian

About Ellen Keane

From Clontarf, in Dublin, 23-year-old Ellen was born with an undeveloped left arm. Her parents didn’t want to treat her any differently any she did swimming lessons in the pool with her brothers and sister.

At an early age she swam in a competition in Lisburn which is an annual disability competition. From then on, Keane was hooked, and she joined an able-bodied swimming club and that experience was key to her pursuing her dream of being a Paralympic athlete.

Ellen became Ireland’s youngest ever athlete when she swam in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. At just 13 years old, she competed impressively, placing sixth in the 100m breaststroke.

In 2018 in front of a home crowd she won the breastroke  and secured bronze in the 200m Individual Medley at the  European Paraswimmimg Championships. The pinnacle of her career to date has been the Paralympic Games in 2016 Rio when she made the podium, at her third Paralympic Games claiming a brilliant bronze medal in the final of the 100m Breaststroke. She also has three bronze medals from World Championships in 2013 and 2015. Her long-term target is the next Paralympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.

Sharing her story, to change people’s perspective on disability and empower those who happen to have a disability is also very important to Ellen. She wants to use her performance as a platform to normalise the stigma surrounding disabilities

She is an advocate for positive body image, her remarkable journey from self-conscious ‘girl with one arm’ to Paralympic swimming medallist at the Rio 2016 Games, is a story about self-acceptance. By learning to embrace and celebrate what made her different changed her entire life for the positive.

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