Elliot to swim at championships

By Benalla Ensign

Fourteen-year-old swimmer Elliot McCallum will take part in his second state school swimming championships this month thanks to a generous grant from the Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust (BYST).

Benalla P-12 student Elliot, who was presented with a cheque at the Aquatic Centre on Thursday much to the delight of his mother Julie and swimming teacher Pauline McGeorge, will compete in the Special Abilities event at the championships.

‘‘We’re very proud of him. We have been given a grant from the Young Sportspersons Trust, which is fantastic, and we also received one last year,’’ Julie said.

‘‘So this is the second state championships Elliot will be part of.

‘‘We received $500 and that will go towards accommodation and expenses.’’

Pauline has been Elliot’s swimming teacher for many years and recalls his first trip to the pool as a toddler.

‘‘Elliot first came when he was in nappies and would swim with his parents and grandparents,’’ she said.

‘‘As he got older he decided to take up swimming more regularly and now does three really great strokes.’’

Elliot, who is a man of few words, said his favourite stroke was freestyle, and his favourite saying was ‘‘I can do it.’’

‘‘I’m really excited to be going to the championships,’’ he said.

Elliot, who trains at the Benalla Aquatic Centre each week, is just the latest young person in Benalla to benefit from a BYST Grant.

BYST was formed in 1990 and has provided support to more than 100 local young athletes including current AFL player Tom Rockliff.

Trustee Henry Nam joined Elliot at the pool on Thursday and said it was a great honour to be able to help out with a grant.

The State Schools Swimming championships is being held at Albert Park Aquatic Centre on April 18.

Last month the Ensign published an article on Local Scooter Champion Mitchell Young.

He is another local sportsperson to benefit from a BYST grant, receiving $1000 to help him on his way to a national title.

●For more information on BYST, phone Bill Sykes on 0427624989. You can also follow the trust on Facebook @Benallayoungsportspersontrust