National Paralympic Day: ‘Come together’, right now, Ellie Simmonds urges Britain

She may have set a new world record at last week’s IPC World Swimming Championships but there’s no rest for Ellie Simmonds who dives back into the pool for this weekend’s National Paralympic Day celebrations.

The four-time Paralympic champion bounced back from being edged out in the 400m freestyle final in Glasgow by winning gold in the 200m individual medley.

It was the Manchester-based swimmer’s third successive global title over the distance, while she also beat her previous best time to set a new world record of 3:01.02 minutes.

Double bronze also arrived in the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m freestyle relay to leave Simmonds on track going into Rio next year.

The 20-year-old will be given a reminder of her most recent Paralympic outing in 2012 when she returns to the London Aquatics Pool this Sunday for National Paralympic Day.

Designed to help continue the legacy of the 2012 Games, the annual event will feature both elite athletics and swimming as well as promoting disability sport and Simmonds insists there will be no hangover from her recent exerts at the World Championships.

“I think it is really important to have days like National Paralympic Day,” said Simmonds, who won double gold, silver and bronze at London 2012.

“I’m really excited and I’m so looking forward to racing at the London pool because I haven’t raced there since the Paralympics so it will be great to go back,” she said.

“Sadly I couldn’t make the last National Paralympic Day but it looked like such an amazing event. So I’m really excited to be there this year.

“I’m sure it is going to be an amazing experience to go back there and hopefully achieve some more great things and have some more great races.

“It is a great event to get the whole public to get them to experience what London was like. The whole country came together for London 2012 so hopefully we can have another day like that where everyone is cheering us on.”

If Simmonds is successful in earning selection for Rio 2016, it will represent her third Paralympic Games following Beijing and London.

With no fewer than six Paralympic medals, she has already done plenty to inspire the next generation of swimmers, although Simmonds hopes competing back at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park can boost interest even more.

“It is really important that we attempt to inspire the next generation,” she added.

“I hope there are people out there who can watch us at events like the National Paralympic Day – anybody of any age – and try to achieve their dream or get a dream.

“It is not just about swimming because there are so many sports out there for everyone and it is important that kids get out there and get into sport rather than watching tv and playing on video games.

“It is not just about the competitive side, it is about making friends, getting the adrenaline flowing and sport releases endorphins to make you feel good.”

Tickets for National Paralympic Day are available at Ticketmaster: #NPD2015 is supported by Spirit of 2012

Image courtesy of ITV via YouTube, with thanks.

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