Sunshine Coast Lightning Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Lead, Kristy Munroe has worked for the Club for two years, but prior to this boasted an outstanding 11-year career as one of Australian’s most decorated surf lifesavers.
At Lightning, Kristy’s role ensures the players are educated and supported in areas outside of training and game days, including access to mental health, injury rehab and post-retirement support.
She also provides career and education development so the players have a career to transition into after netball. This extends to professional development across a wide range of topics to develop the life skills needed as an athlete and beyond.
Before beginning her career in athlete wellbeing, Kristy won state, national and world championship Ironwoman crowns, captained her country and, prior to winning her first title, was selected as a junior to represent the Australian athletics team. She won two world Ironwoman championships and nine Australian titles, before she captained the Australian team at a world championship event, and did it all before her 21st birthday.
After being inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2016, Kristy recently sat down with Hamish McLachlan to tell her Untold Story.
Kristy talks about how the sport of lifesaving found her, and while she was incredibly talented in many other sports — especially athletics, where she competed nationally — she chose surf lifesaving because it didn’t come naturally to her in the beginning, the fear of water often leaving her on the sand.
“My most natural ability was in running so athletics was always something that I did and enjoyed, but because it came so naturally to me the challenge just wasn’t there. The surf was something that I initially was really frightened of — I think it was just the force of the ocean, the volume of water that just really pushes you down and holds you under,” she said.
“It was the feeling of being out of control so you can’t always control when you come up to get your next breath, you can’t control where you want to swim or paddle because the ocean often dictates that for you.
“Learning to overcome that need to be in control which as athletes is an underlying factor and characteristic that we have.”
Kristy also touches on her journey from being a professional athlete to finding herself in a career of athlete wellbeing.
“Once I retired as an athlete I started thinking what do I want to do with my life, and I was fortunate that I was guided into studying while I was an athlete so I did have a degree behind me. It was a pretty generic business degree so I still wasn’t completely sure where I wanted to take life after sport,” she said.
“Everything I learnt as an athlete has lead me down a path of working in sports integrity, and athlete wellbeing and wellness because that’s something I wish there was more of an emphasis on when I was an athlete.”
Watch the full interview: