Ellerston Public School relay team fifth in state in race for Earl McGee Trophy

FOR a small school of only around 20 students, Ellerston Public School shows magnificent spirit.

And, that spirit was manifested in the swimming pool this week, with a talented team of four students making the trip to Sydney for the New South Wales Primary School Sports Association Swimming Championships.

The school’s relay team, which consists of Sophie Baker, Daniel Payne, Chloe Moores and Blake Grimes represented the Hunter in the Earl McGee Small Schools Relay at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

In an amazing performance, the team came away fifth in the state out of 21 schools.

What was even more remarkable was the fact they smashed 13 seconds off their regional qualifying time from the day before.

Sophie’s mother Kim Taylor travelled to Sydney to be there on Thursday and says the relay is specifically for teams of schools with enrolment not above 25.

“It provides an avenue for children in isolated and remote areas to still get their opportunity,” she said.

“It was a pretty spectacular event.

“There were 21 teams competing and it was narrowed down to the top eight.

“However the real achievement was the improvement of 13 seconds and we owe that success to Scone swimming instructor and squad coach Yvette Taylor’s training, commitment and professional strategies.”

Like everything, the current dry conditions made it that little bit harder. 

Due to the extreme drought and water restrictions, the Ellerston pool was forced to close early this summer, which saw families travelling to Scone for training.

But, the added commitment and “chase for water” made the experience more rewarding for the children.

“We are extremely grateful that Yvette accepted the Ellerston and Blandford teams to join her intensive training squad,” Kim said.

“Yvette generously gave the kids specific relay training, technical coaching and warm-ups.

“The team’s fitness and performance improved immensely thanks to Yvette and as a result all of the kids’ hard work paid off.

“It was a wonderful result and Ellerston Public School are very grateful for Yvette’s commitment to our students.”