Tully Kearney is a British Para swimmer who, at just 18, has already broken a number of records and is tipped as a huge star for the future.
Born in Nottingham in 1997, she began swimming at the age of nine after being approached by a coach while she watched her mother and brother swim at a local pool, and took it up competitively after primary school classmate Ellie Simmonds OBE displayed her Paralympic medals at a school assembly.
Tully, who grew up in Aldridge, was born with cerebral palsy and generalised dystonia which affects her lower limbs and left hand side of her body, but she has not let this condition get in the way of sporting success.
In 2011, at the age of 14, Tully was already competing nationally in youth competitions and won gold in seven events at the DSE (Disability Sports Events) Championships in Sheffield. The same year also saw her enter her first international competition at the 25th German Open Meet in Berlin, where she won a total of 10 medals.
Tully then qualified for her first senior GB team in 2013, travelling to the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal and winning S10 400m Freestyle bronze. Two years later, she set a series of personal bests and won MC 100m Butterfly bronze at the 2015 British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow, earning her a spot at the 2015 World Championships staged in the same city.
Having been reclassified to S9, she was one of the stars of the tournament, winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal, and setting European records in 400m Freestyle, 100m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley, making her the most decorated Team GB swimmer of the event.
As testament to her progress and talent, she won a series of awards following the World Championships, including Emerging Athlete of the Year at the 2015 British Swimming Awards and Birmingham Sports Awards Amateur Sportswoman of the Year, as well as being shortlisted for the overall Sportswoman of the Year awards. She was extremely honoured to make the final three athletes shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, at the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and attended in person.
Tully has now been included in Great Britain’s main performance squad for the final build-up to Rio 2016 Paralympics.
|S9 100m Freestyle||1:05.79||5th|
|S9 400m Freestyle||2015||4:39.29||GOLD||European|
|S9 100m Backstroke||1:10.52||SILVER|
|S9 100m Butterfly||2015||1:09.04||GOLD||European|
|SM9 200m Individual Medley||2015||2:31.08||GOLD||European|
|34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay||4:29.83||BRONZE|
|34pt 4x100m Medley Relay||4:52.89||GOLD|
|SM10 400m Freestyle||2015||4:36.69||British|
|SM10 800m Freestyle||2013||9:32.11||British|
|SM10 400m Individual Medley||2014||5:21.24||British|