Year 9 St Columbas student to represent Australia at the 2016 Paralympics

16/9/2016
On Thursday 18 August 2016 St Columbas Catholic College, Springwood Year 9 student Jenna Jones set off to represent the Australian Paralympic swimming squad, at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
On Thursday 18 August 2016 St Columbas Catholic College, Springwood Year 9 student Jenna Jones set off to represent the Australian Paralympic swimming squad, at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.


On Thursday 18 August 2016 St Columbas Catholic College, Springwood Year 9 student Jenna Jones set off to represent the Australian Paralympic swimming squad, at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. 

What makes Jenna’s story incredible is that she was diagnosed with rod-cone dystrophy, a rare degenerative eye disease, whilst in Kindergarten. 

Being a natural athlete, Jenna took to swimming like a fish to water, but it was not without it’s struggles. Jenna initially had trouble with competitive swimming, as the wash from other swimmers exacerbated the vertigo she felt due to her visual impairment. 

In 2014 Jenna started to train with a new coach Nick Robinson and under his guidance Jenna’s times improved significantly over the following six month. 

‘I think people of often have a misconception about how hard Paralympians have to train and I would just like to say that the dedication and hard work Jenna has put into her swimming is that of a true athlete,’ Nick said. ‘We are very excited to see how Jenna performs, especially against so many older swimmers.’ 

Jenna said she despite feeling nervous and excited about the trip to Rio her nerves for racing hadn’t quite hit her yet. 

‘My parents were always incredibly supportive of me and have done so much to encourage my passion for swimming and my love of sports,’ Jenna said. ‘Currently I am doing nine training sessions a week in the pool and three gym sessions per week to prepare.’ 

‘I think if anyone is dedicated and trains hard then they can achieve their dreams,’ she said. 

Jones competed in her first Australian Open Championships that year, aged 13, and set eleven age records, winning two silver and two bronze medals. At the 2015 Open Championships, she won a silver medal in the 50 metre backstroke event despite battling illness. Then at the 2015 Australian Age Championships, she won six gold and three silver medals, breaking nine Australian and 10 New South Wales records in the S13 class, the swimming classification for blind swimmers. She went on to win her first national short course title in the 50 metre backstroke in November 2015. 

Although she was targeting the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, at the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide, she met the Rio qualifying times in the 50, 100 and 400 metre freestyle, 100 metre backstroke and 100 metre breaststroke events and on 14 April 2016 was named a member of the Australian Paralympic swimming squad.
Posted By Natasha Borg at 16/09/2016 9:45:49 AM
 
   
  
 

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