About Ruta Meilutyte
Ruta Meilutyte was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1997. She has two brothers who are at university in the UK. Her mother died when she was only four years old and she was raised by her grandmother, Aldonas. Three years ago, recognizing that she was a swimming prodigy, her father arranged for her to move to the UK and enroll in Plymouth College in Plymouth, Devon, UK. She is coached by John Rudd of Plymouth College.
Ruta's mother, Ingrida, was killed in an accident in April 2001 at age 34 in a pedestrian crossing in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. Because of the economic situation in Lithuania, Ruta's father was working in the U.S. Ruta was 4 and her eldest brother Mindaugas was 13 where their mother was killed. Ruta's paternal grandmother, Aldonas took over raising Ruta and her brothers. In 2005, Ruta's father moved to the UK with his sons and in 2009, Ruta joined them there, as did her grandmother who had never flown before.
"Rūta was born in Kaunas in 1997. “I was doing basketball for four years but then I broke my leg and had to give it up. I tried many things afterwards. Track and field athletics, dancing… But swimming was always my number one sport. I took it up for simple reasons – to learn how to swim, to not be afraid of water, to correct my posture. And I stayed on,” Rūta says.
"Her first coach was Giedrius Martinionis who saw her potential instantly. “One day she’ll become the country’s record-holder,” the coach promised to the 5-year-old’s father Saulius Meilutis. Today, Meilutytė holds five Lithuanian records.
Martinionis can still recall Rūta’s first time in the pool. “She was the first kid who started drowning,” says the coach about Meilutytė’s debut in the swimming pool."