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Golden girl Ellie gets children in the swim

PUBLISHED: 11:44 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 25 August 2010

CHAMPION: Ellie gives youngsters confidence in the water.

CHAMPION: Ellie gives youngsters confidence in the water.

(C)2010Geoff Wilson

A DOUBLE gold Paralympic medal winner who set a new world record last weekend has been giving youngsters swimming lessons.

A DOUBLE gold Paralympic medal winner who set a new world record last weekend has been giving youngsters swimming lessons.

Ellie Simmonds joined youngsters at Willow Dene School in Plumstead, on Tuesday, for their lessons in the temporary swimming pool, which has been built in the playground.

The 12x6 metre pool, which opened in April as part of Make a Splash scheme, is made from galvanized steel and is suspended from the ground by a special framework and enclosed by a large marquee.

Pupils from Willow Dene have been learning to swim during school hours and the facilities are open to the local community for swimming lessons in the evening and at weekends, until July 12.

Ellie, 15, who is studying for her GCSEs while also training 18 hours a week said: "This is a really good opportunity to try the sport.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to compete in the Paralympics in your home country."

This is the first time the pool has been hosted by a special school and included disabled facilities ensuring access for all. It is hoped 5,000 people will have learnt to swim 25 metres by the end of the pool's stay in Greenwich.

The school's head teacher Louise Carlyle said: "This project is about preparing for London 2012 and that's why it so good that here in Greenwich we are making sure the kids with the most complex needs have access to facilities where they can learn to swim and be more active, because the Games is about legacy, a legacy for all."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Swimming is a fantastic sport, great exercise, and also wonderful fun. Yet finding a place to swim is not as simple as going out for a jog.

"We've taken the plunge with Make a Splash and as it streams across the capital thousands more Londoners whatever their age, novice or otherwise will be able to practise their strokes."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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