Fresh from winning the Lorne Pier to Pub on Saturday, young Queensland swimmer Lani Pallister aims to focus on her swimming this year as she strives to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After winning the prestigious open water event for the second year in a row – in both the women’s open and junior categories – the 16-year-old will rein in her surf life saving duties to concentrate on following the black line.
“This year will entail a fair bit of swimming,” she told SEN on Monday morning.
“I’m starting to cut back on some surf life saving and I’m only doing two surf carnivals this year, so I can really focus on my swimming and qualifying in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics.
“I’m really aiming for the 400m and 800m free, I haven’t really gotten into that 1500m much, I’ve only really swum one semi-decent race. I just feel like it’s too long, I get to 800m and think ‘I could be stopping now, but I’ve got 700m to go,” she laughed.
Last year proved very successful for humble Pallister, claiming three gold medals at the Junior Pan Pacs in Fiji for the 400m, 800m and 1500m Free events. She also broke a World Life Saving record at the National Pool Championships in Adelaide, clocking the 100m Rescue Medley in 1:12.14 – shaving .34 of a second off the previous record.
Hailing from a talented sporting family, Pallister’s father, Rick Pallister, is a surf life- saving champion and triathlete, while her mum, Janelle Elford, is an Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.
The emerging swimmer is trained by her mum, who Pallister says constantly provides supports and encouragement at training sessions.
“When I train with mum it’s (distance) usually 6km per session and I do that nine times a week, so I do around 54km each week,” she said.
“I definitely wouldn’t say she takes it easier on me, I probably get in trouble the most in my squad on the Sunshine Coast, but I know that everything she puts me through is about getting the best results out of me.”
Pallister will feature in the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships in Adelaide in April, which will provide an opportunity to qualify for the 2019 Junior World Championships.
“I have the Australian Age Swimming Championships coming up soon where I can qualify for a junior team that goes to Budapest, or another set of open trials mid-year that can qualify me for a senior world’s team that goes to South Korea.”
The first chance for athletes to start the qualifying process for Tokyo takes place later this month in Adelaide, with one of Pallister’s good friends, Chloe Gubecka, participating in the 2019 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships. To keep up to date with all the latest action, make sure you following Swimming Australia across social media @swimmingaustralia on Instagram and via @SwimmingAus on Twitter.
You can also follow Lani Pallister on Instagram @lanipallister