Purruna staff to take on the world
Two YMCA South Australia (the Y) staff team members from the Purruna Spencer Newton Centre (Purruna) are on their way to representing Australia in world Para Swimming competitions after outstanding results at the recent Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast.
Commonwealth Games representative, Ella Jones, was selected onto her second Para World Championship team for the relay after recording her personal best time in the 100metre freestyle swim at the trials. She is also in line to pick up individual swims in the 400metre freestyle and 50metre freestyle events at the World Championships to be held in Manchester in later this year.
Ella’s training partner and long-standing Australian Dolphins team member and London Paralympics Silver medallist, Taylor Corry, will miss the Manchester meet but is on track to qualify for the 2024 Paris Paralympics after swimming her fastest times in four years and collecting a Silver and Gold medal in the S14 butterfly events.
Both girls are coached by Purruna Centre Manager and Gold Licence coach Simon Watkins and his wife Hannah, a Silver Licence coach who mentored Ella to the Commonwealth Games Team in 2022.
Their morning training sessions at Purruna include swimming and gym work while, during the day, Ella is a Swim Teacher, Teacher in charge and Customer Service Officer and Taylor is a Swim Teacher - Squad coach and Lifeguard at the new Scotch College wellness and recreation centre.
Simon said that both girls swam in finals on every night of the trials and produced their best when it counted, which was an outstanding result.
“Their achievements are a direct result of the work they put in and we could not be happier for them,” he said. “The girls swim nine sessions a week and have a heavy program outside the water including pilates, yoga and gym work. Their dedication is incredible and they deserve their success.”
Ella moved from Sydney to Northern NSW in January 2021, and then followed the Watkins’ to Adelaide after the Commonwealth Games. Taylor has swum with Simon at various clubs in Sydney, Northern NSW and Adelaide since 2016, and has won medals at World Championships and Para Pan Pacific Games.
“The transition to decide to move to Adelaide, work with the Y at Purruna and live here to pursue the dream of representing Australia at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, is an amazing commitment. Both girls are right on track.”
“Taylor swam some of her fastest times for years at the trials and we are so proud of how she’s still improving at 28 years of age. Ella has improved out of sight in the events she’s been targeting and it’s great that she’s made the team for the Para World Championships in Manchester this year,” Simon said.
“Having Taylor and Ella on the Y team at Purruna translates to exceptional swimming experience for our program and in the community, which is unique. It’s an amazing new centre and an atmosphere of motivation and success has already been created within and around all involved.”