Tumut product Grace Whyte has taken another major step in her burgeoning netball career after being selected in the NSW Swifts Academy squad for 2022.
Following the recent news that Whyte was selected to represent the Australian under 17s side – and on the back of a good season with the Manly Warringah Sapphires in the Netball NSW Premier League – Whyte looks to be in the sights of Swifts selectors.
The Swifts compete in the Suncorp Super Netball competition – Australia’s premier netball league – and Whyte explained how her selection in the 30-player squad came about.
“I got a few calls from the Swifts Academy coach (Lenore Blades) and assistant coach of the Swifts and then an email and a final call offering a contract,” Whyte said.
“I’m super happy (and) it didn’t feel real at the start.”
Whyte will now train and play with Swifts Academy side and will turn out for Manly Warringah in the Premier League.
In a statement, the NSW Swifts explained that the Academy side was a direct pathway to the Swifts premier 10-player squad.
“The Academy looks to strengthen the foundations of the seven-time Premiers by providing further pathway opportunities to aspiring players from across the state,” the Swifts statement read.
“The Academy provides a daily training environment for home-grown NSW athletes who have the potential to play for the club in the future.
“Underpinning the 10 rostered athletes in the main NSW Swifts squad, which will contest Suncorp Super Netball, Academy players consists of the best talent in the Netball NSW pathway.”
In 2022 the Academy will again be led by Head Coach Lenore Blades, who will be assisted by NSW State Team coach Jen Wright and former NSW Swifts captain Abbey McCulloch.
NSW Swifts Executive General Manager Nikki Horton congratulated Whyte and other athletes selected.
“This is a very proud moment for these players, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the selection process,” she said.
“This will be the third year of the Academy and it has already started to bear fruit with each of our 2022 Training Partners selected directly from this pathway.
“We have a brilliant mix of experience and youth, which is vital as we look to strengthen the strong foundations that underpin the Swifts.
“As well as the players selected, I would also like to thank every athlete that trialled. The calibre of players we had to choose from was outstanding and that is down to the brilliant efforts of the Netball NSW Pathways Team, as well as everyone working at the grassroots level who have also aided their development.”