Swimming start to 2020 for Sportsperson of the Month
SPORTS AWARDS :As people were finalising their new year’s resolutions for 2020, Yamba Surf Life Saving Club star Kalani Ives was smashing it in the surf.
At just 14 years old, Ives took to the water at Yamba’s Main Beach for the annual Ocean Swim with a mission: to swim like a torpedo. And that she did.
Taking out first place in the open women’s 700m and second in the open women’s 2km swim later that day, Ives’ efforts have earned her another Junior Grafton Shoppingworld Sportsperson of the Month to add to her collection.
Yamba Surf Life Saving Club president Joe Dougherty has seen Ives grow into the talented athlete she is and while impressed at her achievements is not surprised to see her reaching these heights.
“She’s extremely dedicated and hard working. The results she has achieved have been a true reflection on the amount of effort she has put in,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty has seen his fair share of Ocean Swims but said he had seen few as motivated as Ives at such a young age.
“It’s a very good achievement for someone so young to be able to do that. It really highlights her raw talent and ability,” he said.
“We’ve had a few stars at the club over the years that have been successful at a state and national level. I think Kalani is capable of replicating those achievements at the highest level.”
While the NSW Country Life Saving Championships took place outside of January, Ives added to an impressive year with one gold and four silver medals in Cudgen.
“She had a very good weekend – the results reflect that. It’s pleasing to see her and our other club members do so well in quite a few events,” he said.
The director of surf sports at the club, Jim Dougherty, had expected Ives to do even better, considering the high standard she sets for herself.
“I don’t know how Kalani didn’t get more gold medals. She got four silvers and was unlucky in a few events, but she’s always a star,” Jim said.
Joe said he enjoyed having the young star at the club as even at a young age she acted as a great role model for the younger members.
“She sets a great example for the nippers. She really is someone for them to look up to and aspire to,” he said.
“They see her and how much effort she puts in and they know how hard they need to train if they want to replicate her success.”
As the surf life saving season starts edging towards its pinnacle, Ives is eyeing her next challenge.
“The NSW state and Australian titles will be the next big things on her program. We’re getting to the pointy end of season so she’ll be aiming for more success in the next couple of months,” Joe said.
A winner of Grafton Shoppingworld Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year in 2017, it’s clear Ives has been striving for success from the very beginning and we’ll be sure to see her up top again.