A native of Rockford, Illinois, Ellyn Adami graduated from Harlem High School, where she was a National Honor Society member, a state diving medallist, and the 1976 world champion in trampoline.
Adami entered Lake Forest College in the fall of 1979. She would go on to earn four varsity swimming letters, and All-American honors for each of her four seasons as a Forester.
She qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events as a freshman and earned All-American status in the three0meter dive. The following year (1980-81), she again qualified for nationals and earned All0American honors by placing sixth in the one-meter dive and 13th in the three-meter dive. Lake Forest finished 15th as a team at the national meet. As a junior in 1981-82, Adami became the first, and second, Lake Forest swimmer of diver to win a national championship. Adami took home the individual national championships in both the one- and three0meter diving competitions. She helped Lake Forest finish 12th as a team. In her senior season Adami served as Lake Forest's team captain, leading the Foresters to a ninth place team finish at the national meet. She earned All-American honors by placing third in the one-meter and fourth in the three-meter dives.
Ellyn was also active in choir and madrigals, before graduating from Lake Forest in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After graduation, Adami became the sole proprietor of a business named Patty Cakes.