When Isabella Vincent takes to the water at the Tokyo Paralympics, she will have a little piece of Blackfriars with her.
Isabella, better known as Izzy, is coached by Blackfriars old scholar Shaun Curtis (BPS ‘04).
Izzy, 15, the youngest member of the Australian Paralympic swimming team and the only South Australian representative, is the second athlete Shaun has coached to Paralympic level; Liam Bekric was part of team at the 2016 Rio games, finishing fourth in the 100m breaststroke.
In the past few years, Shaun, the head coach of Norwood Swimming Club, has also had three athletes win selection on Australian teams.
Shaun himself was selected as one of only five Australian coaches for the 2016 Oceania Championships in Fiji, and as part of seven-strong coaching team for the 2019 Junior World Championships in Hungary.
Shaun, who still plays for Blackfriars Old Scholars Football Club, says his years as student at Blackfriars helped prepare him for his later success.
Blackfriars’ Development Officer – Old Scholars and & Community Jon Harmer remembers Shaun’s time as a student.
“While Shaun was a very good swimmer as a secondary student at Blackfriars, ironically it was his maturity, discipline, strong work ethic and analytical approach to his swimming that stands out in my memory – everything a swim coach would like the athletes in their care to have,” Mr Harmer says.
“Shaun and his younger brother, Luke, have both gone on to be very well-respected swimming coaches in SA and have supported Blackfriars with swim coaching over recent years.” The Paralympic swimming competition starts on Wednesday, August 25. Izzy will swim the 200m individual medley (SM7), the 100m freestyle (S7) and two relays.