If the ironwoman final at last year’s Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships had been just a few metres shorter, Kirsty Higgison would be the reigning state champion.
A near-faultless performance saw the Noosa star enter the home straight some ten metres in front, before fatigue set in and she was run down in the final stride by former Australian champion Bec Creedy.
At the time it was viewed by many in the sport as a coming-of-age performance for the 22-year-old and since then she’s gone from strength to strength, taking out three rounds of this year’s Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series before finishing second overall behind club-mate Jordan Mercer.
While Higgison said the lure of going one better at this year’s Queensland Championships is a motivating factor, she admits that she doesn’t spend too much time wondering about the ‘what ifs’.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much, to be honest,” she said.
“I like to approach each race with a clear head and try not to worry about what’s happened in the past, just because each race is different and nothing will pan out the same.
“But hopefully I can go one better than last year. It was such an incredible race, but I find that I go better when I don’t put too much expectation on myself, and just put my head down and race as hard as I can,” she said.
While Higgison’s performance last year came as a surprise to many, she won’t go under the radar this time around, following a breakthrough 12 months which saw her regularly beat some of the biggest names in the sport.
“There’ll probably be a bit more expectation for me to perform at that level now but, for me, I just have to try to not worry about what other people think,” she said.
“The biggest thing for me is to maintain a good headspace and be positive leading into the State Championships, and not worry about what everyone else is doing but just focus on making sure I have a good preparation.
“I’m coming off the back of a massive high from the series, so I’ve got to go in now and refocus and put more goals forward.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the State Championships, it’s going to be a really good hit-out and also a great chance to see where we’re at in the lead up to Aussies as well,” she said.
The Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships will see the state’s top ironmen and women line up at North Burleigh across three days of action from 18-20 March.
While Higgison will enter the weekend amongst the favourites, she admits it will be a tough field to beat come race day.
“With the field we have at the moment, anyone could really take it out on the day, and I think you saw that in the series with so much chopping and changing, particularly in the top ten,” she said.
“It’s not like the series, with all different types of racing. At States it’s just a one-out straight race and I think whoever has their head switched on that day and makes the least number of mistakes will be the one who takes it out.”