Biggest ever intake of individual athletes

The South West Academy of Sport is backing the sporting dreams of a record number of young sports men and women, with the not-for-profit organisation announcing its biggest ever intake of individual athletes.

A total of 20 new talents will receive high-level support to take their game to the next level after securing highly coveted positions in the not-for-profit organisation’s Individual Athlete Support Program.

They will join nine existing scholarship holders who will return for another 12 months of high-level support geared at further developing their careers on the sports field.

SWAS chief executive officer Bernice Butlion welcomed the new and returning athletes, saying said she was thrilled at the depth of talent coming through the ranks in the region.

“We’ve never seen this level of talent coming through. This is probably the most potential we’ve ever seen,” Butlion said.

“The new batch of athletes sees some fresh sporting faces and we are excited about the opportunity to assist these athletes in their daily training environment with the support of our service providers.

“I am looking forward to working with the athletes, parents and coaches to help our athletes stay focused and receive quality coaching as well as strength and conditioning in their home environment without having to travel to Perth.”

Cycling, cricket, equestrian, golf, swimming and water polo are among the diverse range of disciplines represented in the program.

Butlion said SWAS would be trialling a new system in the program where individual athletes in the same sporting codes will be clustered together.

“Participants representing the same sports will work together and share coaches,” Butlion said.

“The athletes will have a lot of interaction and communication with each other. They won’t be isolated.”

The Individual Athlete Support Program nurtures the development of 15 to 18-year-olds whose sport in not covered by the SWAS partner programs of Australian Rules football, netball and hockey.

Past participants have gone on to compete at the highest represent levels in their sports including the Olympic and Commonwealth games.

SWAS has been assisting regional athletes in the South West since 2008, when it was established to even the playing field between regional athletes in the South West and their peers in the Perth metropolitan area.