Paralympic Medallist, Multiple World Para Swimming Medalist, Ireland’s youngest Paralympian, Campaigner for greater understanding of disability, Positive Body Image advocate
From Clontarf, in Dublin, 23-year-old Ellen was born with an undeveloped left arm. Her parents treat her any differently to her siblings and Ellen did weekly swimming lessons in the pool with them.
At an early age she swam in a disability competition in Lisburn and showed her real competitive potential. 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.
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. In 2018 she has the exciting prospect of competing in the IPC European Championships in Dublin 2018.
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.
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. Her nickname is Nemo, because she too has a lucky fin.