Ellen King was the youngest member of the British swimming team at the 1924 Olympics, and flourished into a versatile athlete who excelled at backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
Born in Renfrew in 1909, she appeared at the Games in Paris aged just 15. Despite her youth – and an illness during the competition – she secured sixth place in the 100m backstroke. Four years later, in Amsterdam, she realised her potential, winning silvers in the 100m backstroke and 4x100m freestyle relay. She built on this success by breaking the world records for the 200m breaststroke and 100m backstroke in 1927 and 1928.
In 1930, at the inaugural British Empire Games in Ontario, Canada, Ellen won a silver and two bronze medals in the 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 4x100m relay respectively.
She spent most of her life in Edinburgh, swimming at the Warrender Baths Club. As well as her international successes, she won Scottish Championship titles across all distances from 50m to 400m, and six British Championships.
After her amateur career, Ellen taught swimming in Edinburgh schools and remained a regular in her local pools until well after her 80th birthday. She died in 1994 aged 85.
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