Old scholars making waves in SA swimming scene

South Australia’s two biggest swimming clubs are now being led by two Blackfriars old scholars.

Brothers Shaun Curtis (BPS’04) and Luke Curtis (BPS’08) have been appointed head coaches of Marion and Norwood swimming clubs, respectively.

For Shaun, the move to Marion, SA’s biggest swimming club, comes after a decade as Head Coach at Norwood.

During his Norwood tenure, he coached two athletes to the Paralympics (Isabella Vincent, Tokyo, and Liam Bekric, Rio) and had several athletes gain 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.

The Curtis brothers swam competitively for Norwood while students at Blackfriars, where they also played water polo for the school. They both still play football for Blackfriars Old Scholars Football Club.

Luke Curtis during his time in the US.

After leaving Blackfriars, Luke swam for Gannon University, in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was an NCAA finalist. As an athlete in Australia, he won multiple national medals.

In more recent years, Luke has coached the Blackfriars water polo team in swimming.

Luke fondly remembered his time as a student at Blackfriars.

“School sport was a key reason for attending Blackfriars,” Luke said.

“Having the ability to be involved in swimming and water polo at the highest level while being at a school that supported this was a key to me being able to reach my goals as an athlete and now progress to where I am today.

“The memories of Friday afternoon school water polo games and school swimming carnivals are some of the highlights of my time at Blackfriars.”

It was a sentiment shared by Shaun: “I was lucky to play with a number of Australian water polo juniors in my time. I snagged a spot in the team for my swimming and was part of an overseas tour in 2004. Jon Harmer had us well drilled!”

Secondary swimming champions

Meanwhile, the current generation of Blackfriars swimmers are celebrating their win in the School Sport SA B-Grade Championships at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre on 25 May.

A highlights of the evening was our 15-year-old 4×50 freestyle relay team of Matthew Brown, Cohen Traeger, Jackson Brown and Hugh Caton winning their Division 1 relay by a massive 17 seconds.

Other Blackfriars boys to take 1st place were …

  • Ben Baker – 16-years 50 backstroke (Div 2)
  • Matthew Brown – 15-years 50 backstroke (Div 2); 15-years 50 freestyle (Div 2)
  • Hugh Caton – 15-years 50 backstroke (Div 1); 15-years 50 freestyle (Div 1)
  • Brian Vien – 16-years 50 breaststroke (Div 2)
  • Michael Ward – 16-years 50 freestyle (Div 3)

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