Role Model- Ellie McCartney

Role Model- Ellie McCartney


Ellie McCartney

Ards Swim Club/ National Centre Limerick

This past summer, you might have come across the impressive achievements of Ellie McCartney when she broke the Ulster Record in the 200m Indivudal Medley (IM). Originally from Enniskillen, where her grandfather established the Enniskillen Lakelanders club, Ellie’s journey into the world of swimming began at the age of 7, with her father as her first swimming instructor. It was during these early years that she swiftly progressed and secured national titles. She earned the nickname “BOB” from her father, inspired by her head bobbing in and out of the water.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the closure of swimming facilities, leading Ellie to make the decision with her family at the age of 16 to relocate to Bangor. This tr  ansition marked the beginning of conversations about whether swimming was more than just a hobby. Her move to Bangor granted her access to the National Academy and an array of coaching resources, pushing her progress in the sport.

Ellie McCartney progressed quickly after the move, winning national titles, and securing her first international competition spot at the age of 17. Her dedication is evident, balancing both a hard academic schedule and an additional 20 hours of training, encompassing both dryland and swim practice.

A member of the Ards Swim Club, Ellie found inspiration in her teammate and para-Olympic swimmer, Bethany Firth. She describes Bethany as “an inspiration and always willing to help her out.” Ellie’s participation in the Youth Commonwealth Games opened her eyes to the world of multi-sport events, fostering her growth not only as a swimmer but also as a well-rounded athlete. Her performance at the Youth Commonwealth Games yielded two gold medals and a bronze medal.

While Ellie McCartney’s strongest stroke is breaststroke, she has also performed well in the individual medley (IM). Her growth positions her as a formidable athlete among the increasing number of strong Irish swimmers. Notably at the Commonwealth Youth Games, she took silver behind teammate, Grace Davidson in the 200IM, and their 1-2 finish underscored the remarkable talent emerging within Northern Ireland’s swimming community.

Ellie has significant aspirations both in and out of the pool. Although securing a spot at the 2024 Olympics may be a challenge, she doesn’t discount the possibility of working to compete in Los Angeles 2028, emphasizing, “It’s a few years away, you never know.” In addition to her sporting pursuits, Ellie is also working towards a university degree, moving down south to the University of Limerick to get a sports science degree. There she lives with fellow swimmers and continues her training at the national center.

Ellie McCartney’s success isn’t solely attributed to her talent; it is equally a result of her determination, discipline, and her openness to embrace every opportunity. Her advice to young athletes is to “say yes to opportunity and decline one only with good reason.” She encourages everyone to seek advice from their senior athletes, recognizing the value of their wisdom and past experiences.

Ellie’s engagement in swimming has instilled in her the virtues of discipline and effective time management, which have not only contributed to her poolside accomplishments but have also honed her skills in other areas. She eloquently asserts, “If I did not do sports, then I wouldn’t be as good academically.”

It is exciting to watch many young athletes come into their own. Ellie McCartney’s name will continue to be in the headlines, and it’s great to have her being a strong role model in Northern Ireland.