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Elite Sports Performers Program

Finding the balance.

Click here to read about the latest Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Tour our Elite Sports Performer students took part in: AIS Tour 2018

The Elite Sports Performers (ESP) Program was started in 2012 in recognition of the high number of secondary students at St Paul’s who were competing in their chosen sport at a junior elite level and who required additional support and flexibility of curriculum to manage their studies with their training and competition commitments.

The ESP Program has two main components; the support of the student athlete and the development of the student athlete.

The underlying philosophy is to assist students to achieve their sporting goals while supporting them to achieve their very best at school and while starting humbly with seven students, the program has quickly grown to include over 60 students from Years 7 to 12 across both campuses.

Proudly offering a multi-faceted and well-resourced program that is overseen by qualified staff, St Paul’s acknowledges that when a student is well supported and has current and expert advice on their physical and mental development then they will be better placed for success at school.


The support aims of the program are to:

  • Assist our elite student athletes as they seek to balance their educational demands with their high level sporting commitments.
  • Ensure the wellness and stress levels of ESP students are monitored weekly through online software.
  • Offer flexible curriculum options.
  • Provide subject counselling.
  • Allocate our elite student athletes a staff member who will help them cope in times of higher stress.
  • Assist students in the program with time management and goal setting as well as communication with staff.
  • Create a network for our Elite Sports Performers so they can support each other.

The development aims of the program are to:

  • Provide students with information and resources about nutrition, recovery strategies and injury management.
  • Provide students with guest speakers who will help motivate and inspire our young athletes.
  • Provide students with access to industry leaders who will assist their holistic athletic development.
  • Provide further resources and links via a dedicated MyStPauls portal page for further support.


St Paul’s ESP students are supported by the iNSPIRE app which is designed for young athletes to monitor their wellness and assist in their holistic athlete development.  It has a content feed which is written by some of Australia’s leading industry professionals.

iNSPIRE is already used by several State organisations but St Paul’s is the first organisation in Victoria to be on board.

AIS Elite Athlete Camp

This unique Elite Athlete Camp involves staying and eating with the AIS athletes in the village as well as being lectured by many of the Nation’s top coaches in areas such as Sport Psychology, Nutrition, Recovery Procedures, Strength and Conditioning and Athlete Career Education. The students are also taken for practical sessions conducted by the AIS staff.  The AIS Camp is held every two years and is for ESP students only.

ESP Program Supporters

St Paul’s has been building relationships with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to offer further support and development of the students enrolled in the ESP Program.

Local business, Voyage Fitness, are proudly sponsoring students from Years 9 to 12 in the Elite Sports Performers Program (ESP) at St Paul’s.  These students receive a generous 12 month gym membership at Voyage which includes assistance from Voyage staff to help maintain their fitness levels safely.

Students enrolled in the ESP Program at St Paul’s are being supported by The Foot and Ankle Clinic which offers their professional services to the St Paul’s ESP students to help them achieve their highest potential in sport.

Guest speakers

A pivotal component of the program is hearing from guest speakers explaining how they managed to balance their sporting commitments with school work or other commitments.

Some of those speakers have been:

  • Kelly Cartwright – World record holder and Paralympian
  • Tammy van Wisse – Long distance marathon swimmer and world record holder
  • Dean Vickerman – Coach, Melbourne United Basketball team
  • Hannah Macdougall – Dual Paralympian, previous world record holder and Personal Excellence Advisor for the Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Leigh Brown – Former footballer and current coach of Gippsland Power
  • Joel Whitford – American footballer
  • Chloe McCardel – Marathon swimmer and world record holder
  • Jamie Glazier – Mental Performance Coach
  • Brenton Jones – Elite cyclist
  • Rebecca Bryce – Former professional snowboarder and now Exercise Physiologist at Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre
  • Stuart Tripp – Australian Paralympic cyclist
  • Shannon McCurley – Olympic track cyclist
  • Claudia Gueli – Winter Olympian
  • Felicity Galvez – Gold medallist/two time Olympian
  • Jason Bargwanna – Australian motor racing driver
  • Belinda Hocking – Triple Olympian
  • David Francis – Musculoskeletal specialist/senior physiotherapist at the Collingwood Football Club
  • Jacqui Louder – Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Jamie Macmillian – Deputy Vice Captain of North Melbourne Football Club
  • Jack Billings – Senior AFL player from St Kilda Football Club
  • Emma Doyle – Tennis Australia High Performance Coach
  • Holly Bailey – Mindset Coach

We have also had many former ESP students return to St Paul’s to speak to current ESP students.