Immanuel soccer player Kiara Rychvalsky is thrilled after being announced as the Sunshine Coast's player of 2020. The popular Year 12 student, also a surf lifesaver, can now add Australian Champion to her growing list of accolades after winning the flags event in her age group at the 2021 Aussie Surf Lifesaving Championships.
The Nambour Yandina United player was announced as the Premier Women's Player of the Year in Football Queensland's 2020 Sunshine Coast Football Awards and the Premier League Player of the Year in southeast Queensland's Football Community awards.
The Immanuel student and 2021 Sports Captain said she was shocked when she heard the announcement.
"I thought 'wow and why me?' Because my team is amazing."
As one of Maroochydore Surf Club's up and coming beach stars, Rychvalsky has juggled surf lifesaving and soccer since she ran onto the field five years ago.
"It's a bit of a struggle sometimes when training and competitions overlap," said Kiara.
Rychvalsky said while very different, the sports have complemented each other.
"Surf lifesaving taught me how to run and being a fast attacker is probably one of my biggest strengths in soccer, so the running is really in both of them and that has helped," she said.
Kiara said she loved both surf lifesaving and soccer and didn't want to think about a time where she may have to choose one, but in 2021, her priorities did shift to lifesaving.
After the disappointment of the 2020 Aussie Surf Lifesaving Championship's cancellation, Kiara was more determined than ever to win a title on her home beach.
"Soccer was looking good so my main goal was to get an Aussie title in beach sprinting," she said.
And after 20 rounds to get to the final, watching Kiara win that title as she ran for the flag was nail-biting stuff. Which sport will she choose? Only time will tell.