WINNER: Kalani is Yamba's youngest ironwoman
AN "OUTSTANDING" effort at the NSW Interbranch Championships has seen Yamba nipper Kalani Ives come away with a win in the Under 12s Ironwoman event.
Saturday's competition at The Lakes SLSC on the Central Coast saw Kalani pitted against about 20 girls from all over the state, but the talented 11-year-old was at the head of the pack right from the beginning.
"We had to start with the swim, so we swam around the cans and I was coming about fifth or fourth - have to swim around nine cans - and on the fourth can I was catching up and coming third," she said.
By the last marker Kalani was level with the three front runners, and when a wave came through she was the only one who managed to catch it all the way to shore.
"I ran up around the flags and went on my board, and the sets kept coming so I quickly popped over the wave," she said.
"Another girl who had caught up to me got pushed back by the wave."
It meant that Kalani's win was a lengthy one, and she described it as her favourite so far.
"It was really good," she said.
"(The rest of the interbranch team) said 'Oh Kalani, good on you, good job'."
It wasn't the only excellent result she posted on the day - Kalani also finished third in the Under 12s surf race, and teamed up with Oliver Sharpe from Lennox to place second in the Under 13s board relay.
"In the surf race, I ran out first and then this girl overtook me, then I was coming second and a wave came at the back, and Elizabeth, my friend, caught the wave out the back," she said.
"I came third in that one.
"In the board race I had a really bad start and then went around the cans pretty dumpy so I nosedived a wave. So I came eleventh."
Mum Jasmin Ives, who watched her daughter compete, said the 11-year-old remained cool, calm and collected through the whole competition.
"She's so used to competition now, she just really enjoys them, so she's not nervous or anything," she said.
"It was a really good atmosphere. She just did a really good job, it was really outstanding.
"I'm very proud because I know she trains hard for what she loves, and it was rewarding seeing her finish the iron woman in first place."
There isn't much time for Kalani to stop and think about her win however, with the Kozii Iron Challenge on this weekend at Raby Bay.
"I'm pretty confident, but I'll be practicing a lot this week," Kalani said.
Far North Coast finishes fifth
Far North Coast was the best placed country-based branch finishing fifth overall on 928 points.
1 Sydney 1162
2 Sydney Northern Beaches 1146
3 Central Coast 1044
4 Hunter 1035
5 Far North Coast 928
6 Illawarra 823
7 South Coast 598
8 Mid North Coast 518
9 North Coast 513
10 Far South Coast 357
11 Lower North Coast 174