Teen who died in pool accident was 'ray of sunshine who touched many lives'

Ella Swann suffered a suspected epileptic fit doing the sport she loved. Credit: BPM Media

A swimmer who died following an accidental pool drowning was described by her family as a "ray of sunshine who touched many lives".

Ella Swann suffered a suspected epileptic fit doing the sport she loved.

The 14-year-old schoolgirl was part of Solihull Swimming Club at North Solihull Sports Centre in Fordbridge when tragedy struck on February 28.

She was rescued from the water and rushed to Birmingham Children's Hospital, but she sadly died two-days later on March 2.

A doctor, who treated Ella at hospital, found she suffered "hypoxic-ischemic brain damage, as a result of drowning, as a result of a generalised chronic seizure while swimming." An inquest jury today, Wednesday, August 31, concluded that she died as a result of an accident.

In a record of inquest, the jury panel concluded: "On the evening of 28th February, 2022, Ella attended her routine Solihull Swimming Club squad session at North Solihull Sports Centre. Sometime between 21:00 and 21:05, Ella was discovered as the bottom of the pool.

It adds: "Ella was pulled unconscious from the pool and given CPR by sports centre staff and subsequently emergency services. CPR was complicated due to persistent vomiting.

"Ella was transported to hospital and had suffered cardiac arrest. Ella was diagnosed with a hypoxic brain injury and died at 17.12 on 2 March 2022 at Birmingham Children's Hospital."

The jury confirmed to Birmingham and Solihull Coroner's Court their conclusion was "accidental."

Ella's devastated dad Michael Swann said his daughter was a "ray of sunshine, who touched many lives."

In a pen portrait, Mr Swann told the hearing: "She enjoyed sports. Her two favourite sports were swimming and running.

"Ella trained and swam at Solihull Swimming Club. Her favourite stroke was backstroke. She was part of swimming galas.

"She enjoyed taking part and even more she enjoyed the atmosphere and supporting other club members. For Ella is was all about taking part and having fun."

The 14-year-old was part of Solihull Swimming Club at North Solihull Sports Centre in Fordbridge Credit: Google Street View

The Arden Academy pupil, from Dorridge, was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 10. She had never experienced any seizures during physical activity.

Ella also loved dancing, walking and cross-country running as part of Solihull & Small Heath Athletic Club. Her dad said she enjoyed school and scored a "one for effort for every subject."

"By year 10, she studied drama, English and music. Ella loved the arts, she loved the process of designing, structuring and delivering performance," he said.

"In English, Ella enjoyed creative writing. When asked what she would like to do as a career, she said she would like to be a primary school teacher. She could combine her creative side with her kind nature." She also played the violin as part of the school orchestra.

Her dad added: "Ella was a young lady, just making her way in life. Ella was well known for her kind nature, always full of joy, full of love and cared for others. She always tried her best to give things a go. She was a ray of sunshine.

"We are devastated. She is truly missed. Ella was a really special girl."

Her family also decided to donate her organs, which was an incredible gesture following her tragic death.

Addressing Ella's family members, Senior Coroner Louise Hunt, for Birmingham and Solihull, said: "There's nothing I can say to help the pain that you and your family go through every day. I hope in some sense this process has helped you understand a little bit more about what happened.

"I realise it doesn't bring all of the answers. I hope with time you can remember the girl, the person, that you described. Thank you for sharing an insight into who Ella was.

"The excellent student, the girl who loved drama, English and music and also her sports, her running and swimming. And that ray of sunshine that you described to me - the person who cared so much about others and touched so many lives.

"And ultimately ending saving so many lives with that incredibly generous donation of her organs."