England lifesaving call up for Laura

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An Ashville College swimming instructor has been appointed as England Lifesaving Coach.

The role will see Laura Purcell, 23, taking a team of the best athletes in lifesaving from across the UK to compete in the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships, being held in Durban, South Africa, later this year.

Ahead of the competition, the Primary PE and Sports Coaching undergraduate will have to select a development and a national team, decide who swims which event, establish training camps at various locations in the run-up to the event.

She will also have to design and get funding for a brand new, up to date team kit, help organise the trip and supervise the coaching aspects of the teams in the preparation for this international contest.

Only last year, Laura – a competitive swimmer and a coach at Leeds Phoenix Lifesaving Club - started her “career” at the Harrogate school, as a placement student.

After impressing the sports department, she was then offered a job helping with swimming lessons across all age groups, which she continues to do.

Laura, who has swum competitively, is also a coach at Leeds Phoenix Life Saving Club, which aims to teach critical first aid skills.

As the sport developed over time, the club branched out into speed lifesaving. This combines the critical first aid skills with a competitive speed element.

Her duties as coach at Leeds Phoenix – which was awarded Club of the Year 2017 from the Royal Life Saving Society and was a runner up in the Leeds Sports Awards 2017- involves her not only running training sessions, but also taking athletes to successfully compete at regional, national and world stage competitions.

Laura said: “I’m so excited to take on this role as England coach.

“It’s a Great opportunity for me and I feel honoured to be taking some of the best lifesaving athletes from across the country to compete and represent England.

“My continued experience at both Ashville College and Leeds Phoenix were crucial factors in being selected for this national role, and I am very much looking forward to the challenges it will offer me.”