FAMILY OF CHAMPIONS
RETURNING from her first international swimming tournament, Lani Pallister has come away with exactly what she was looking for at the FINA Junior World Championships – two personal bests (PB).
The 15-year-old said she was set to enter the 800m event in Indianapolis, USA and shortly before leaving, was told she could also race in the 1500m.
“I’d only swum the 1500 once before I left,” Lani said.
“I didn’t expect anything going over there competing, I’ve never really travelled to compete at something like that.”
Placing eighth in the 1500m, and 10th in the 800m, Lani’s real goal was to shave seconds off each race.
“I was mainly just focussing on times, and making myself a faster swimmer,” she said.
Lani completed her 1500m race in 16:32, a 20 second PB, and her 800m race was swum in 8:39, almost nine seconds faster than her previous PB.
With her mum a former Olympic swimmer, and her dad a tri-athlete, Lani has a clear idea of the times she wants to achieve.
“Mum went 8:24 (in the 800m), so I’d like to eventually end up going as fast as her,” the teen said. “My coach says I can. “She says it’s a matter of believing in myself.”
Sound advice from her coach, who also happens to be her mum, Janelle – a relationship Lani says has required some balance.
“We’ve had to set a barrier between the pool and home,” Lani said.
“If I get in trouble at the pool, it stays at the pool.
“And at home it’s not swimmer/coach, it’s mum/daughter.”
Lani’s love for swimming extends beyond the pool and into the surf, where she is also a champion in her age group.
She said the two sports complement each other.
“Both of them have different release points,” Lani said.
“If one’s getting too stressful, I can turn to the other.”
SWIMMING STAR: Lani Pallister is off to the World Junior Swimming Championships in the US. Lani is pictured with her coach and mother former Olympic swimmer Janelle Pallister.