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Desert kids splash out to state swimming championships

One of the state’s most isolated schools has been rewarded for their determination to ensure that its desert students are confident swimmers.

Photograph of students in the Weilmoringle Public’s relay team at their outback school.

From outback desert to Olympic Aquatic Centre, the Weilmoringle relay team of Addison Byno, Rowan Brown, Rebecca Reid, Nikylah Byno are off to Sydney for the state swimming championships.

Weilmoringle Public School’s four-member relay team has earned a place in the state swimming championships.

They won a state berth by placing second at the Western Region titles in Dubbo last week.

Their  journey to glory began last year when the school decided to vary its hours so it could devote half-a-day per week to swimming lessons at the nearest swimming pool at Brewarrina – a 200 kilometre round trip away.

While the aim of the major commitment was to make all students – four of whom could not swim – comfortable and confident in the water, Principal Lisa Wright says Sydney selection is icing on the cake.

“We’ve really overcome the odds,” Mrs Wright said.

“There’s not much water around here.

“But from those lessons and squeezing in a couple of practise sessions our kids are now on their way to Sydney and a crack at the state small schools relay title.”

The team – made up of Rebecca Reid (Year 6), Rowan Brown (6), Nikylah Byno (5) and Addison Byno (4) – make up almost half the school’s total enrolment of just 11 students.

The school’s only other Year 5/6 student, Kahleb Byno (6) will travel as the relay team’s reserve.

Just 40 kilometres from the Queensland border, Weilmoringle truly is back-of-Bourke which is some 200 kilometres away along a sometimes impassable dirt road.

Mrs Wright said although the school is “miles from anywhere” there is a strong resolve to give the students a rich range of experiences.

The school’s perseverance to create the opportunity for all students to build their swimming skills is just one example of strength of this commitment.

“It’s a real credit to the school swimming scheme that our kids can do this and not written off as too isolated for swimming,” Ms Wright said.

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