Paralympic athlete mentors Ely College Students

Fran Williamson at Ely College

Fran Williamson at Ely College - Credit: Archant

Students at Ely College were put through their paces by a former world class athlete.

Fran Williamson at Ely College

Fran Williamson at Ely College - Credit: Archant

Fran Williamson, formerly a world-class Paralympian swimmer and now athlete mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport, provided tips and inspiration for students during a day of activities.

Frann Williamson at Ely College

Frann Williamson at Ely College - Credit: Archant

Fran supported the PE Department at the College for the day and provided motivating tips for students of all ages as they took part in sports activities.

Fran said: “I started life struggling at school and believing that I would never amount to much but now, looking back, I have achieved more than I ever dreamt possible.

“Sport has given me so many unique opportunities and experiences that people rarely get. It makes me feel proud and honoured in everyday life and I am looking forward to inspiring students with my story of success.”

Liam Goodson, a Year 10 college student, said: “It was a great day, a real privilege to meet a Paralympian and to see - even hold - her medals.

“Fran told us never to give up, and never to stop trying for what we want to achieve.”

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Fran was introduced to swimming by a fellow student at secondary school when aged 12, although her condition - Athetoid Cerebral Palsy - meant that it took her a year to gain the confidence to swim in a 25m pool unaided.

Having accomplished that goal however, she quickly progressed, qualifying for national competition and becoming a dominating force within British swimming.

She has broken the 100m backstroke short course world record on numerous occasions.

When she was 15 Fran won two bronze medals at the European Championships and a year later returned from the World Championships with five medals.

In her 10 years of representing Team GB, Fran racked up 13 World Championship and six Paralympic medals.

Now retired from professional competition, Fran spends most of her time sharing the ups and downs of her sporting career with young people through her role as an athlete mentor for Sky Sports.