Yandina's Cody Rychvalsky represents Australia at the Youth Lifesaving World Championships in the Netherlands.
Yandina's Cody Rychvalsky represents Australia at the Youth Lifesaving World Championships in the Netherlands. Patrick Woods

Lifesaving gold medallist started out hating the sport

YOU could take the competitor out of Cody Rychvalsky but you could not take surf life saving out of him.

The Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club member won gold in the under 19 beach sprint and silver in the flags at the world championships in the Netherlands this year.

He has collected more than 20 local, state and national awards in the last two years but life saving means more to Cody than just competition.

"If I quit competing, I would still continue with the club, now that I've dipped my toe in it," he said.

He did not always love it. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite when he started out in life saving in an under six age group.

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"Living on the Coast, you're sort of around the beach every day and mum and dad wanted me to get surf smart when I was very young, so I'd know how to choose spots on the beach and be safe.

"I didn't really want to go when I was younger. I hated it, to be honest. But as I got older I started enjoying it more."

Cody said he was about 13 when surf lifesaving began to click, and 14 or 15 when he began to show an aptitude for sprints.

"I started loving it more and more after that," he said.

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He credits Maroochydore's beach coach, Glen Wilson, for knowing how to bring out the best in him and encouraging him in the sport.

"I would never have had any success without Glen," he said.

Cody, 18, who has just started a carpentry apprenticeship, is having a break from the sport to refresh after a busy year last year, but will resume training soon.

He does patrol duty once a month, as do all other active patrolling members.

Even if there were no medals in his cupboard at home, he feels surf lifesaving has given him plenty.

"It's definitely given me a lot of life skills in general. Being in teams has helped me learn how to get on with different people. There's leadership skills when I help my mate out with the youth program. It's definitely helped me with social skills."

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