"I’ve just had to learn to do things differently" - Paralympian Ellen Keane on life as a swimmer

The 21-year-old was born without a left hand or forearm

BY Daniel Kelly 14:47 Wednesday 14 September 2016, 14:47 14 Sep 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ellen Keane is 21-years-old. She's now a three-time Paralympian and will compete in their fifth Paralympic final on Wednesday night.

The Clontarf swimmer competes in the final of the SB8 100-metres breaststroke, having qualified second-fastest for the final. In the next two days, Keane will also compete in the S9 100-metres butterfly and backstroke events.

Keane was born with no left hand and forearm. She was one of  the subjects of the Newstalk documentary, 'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport'. The documentary follows Keane and shot-putter Deirdre Mongan as they prepare for the Rio Games.

Despite not winning a medal in Beijing or London, Keane revealed that she is focusing on her times, rather than medals in Brazil.

"I’m more about a time in my head at the moment, so if I was to swim a really good time and come 5th, I’d be happier than if I swam the same time that I’m at and come 3rd. That said I’d love to win a medal, everybody wants to win a medal!"

Ellen's parents Laura and Eddie travel around the world, supporting her daughter. They go to all her events in bright green suits and have even been spotted beside the Rio swimming pool.

Keane is a three-time bronze medallist at the IPC World Championships. After finals in China and England, she may finally get her Paralympic moment in the sun in Brazil. 

You can listen to 'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women In Paralympic Sport' below.

'Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport' was produced and narrated by Susan Dennehy. The programme was made with the support of the BAI, Sound and Vision Grant.

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