One of South Ayrshire's up and coming young athletes is celebrating her latest success after winning first place at a national swimming contest. 16 year old Elle McCreadie from Ayr won a gold medal at the National Para-Swimming Championships at Manchester Aquatics Centre for her 100m freestyle front crawl in class S11. This was Elle's first competition with the Scottish Junior Squad who she trains with at Stirling University on the first Sunday of every month. She has been a member of South Ayrshire Swim Team (SAST) Para Squad since August 2017.
Elle McCreadie has been blind since birth and lives with a condition called Lebers Congenital Amaurosis which means that her retina did not develop as it should have. Her condition has not kept her back, though, and Elle has competed in numerous swimming galas with SAST in the last two years and has collected almost 40 medals in that time. She is a South Ayrshire Talented Athlete; has claimed a place on the Sportsability Roll of Honour 2018, and was a finalist in the Sportsability Young Athlete of the Year 2017.
Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture described Elle as an inspirational figure, "As a familiar face in South Ayrshire's Swim Team we were thrilled to hear about of Elle's latest success in Manchester.
"Elle's determination to succeed is an inspiration to athletes at every level and I know this is just the start for her, with even greater goals lying ahead in 2019.
"We actively promote swimming to people of all abilities and Our Learn 2 Swim Plus team provides a Disability Swimming Programme which is fully accessible for children with physical, sensory and/or learning needs between the ages of 4–16."
Elle has been swimming since she was a baby, progressing from the mother and baby class then through the Tuesday night class for additional support needs, then the development class and now the swim team. She trains three times a week in the pools at Prestwick and the Citadel plus a dry gym session. When she swims she has to wear blacked out goggles so that she and anyone she competes against are all equal. She has an assistant at the end of the pool to tap her on the shoulder to warn her that the wall is approaching, using a long contraption with a tennis ball on the end.
Elle said she was now looking ahead to her next challenges, "I've had a great year with so many highlights and I'm looking to improve in 2019. Next on my to-do list are learning to dive and tumble turn and to try to improve my technique and fitness so to help me improve on my times at the Scottish Disability Sports Performance Championships in January."
Elle is studying for her Highers in S5 at Belmont Academy in Ayr. Her subjects are English, Modern Studies, Music and Psychology and she is planning to study Social Sciences at HNC next year at Ayr College. She plays the drums, she sings, she sails, she loves lots of other outdoor pursuits.
For further information on the Learn 2 Swim programme click this link.