By MITCHELL DALE
SAWTELL surf life saver Courtney Hancock didn't reveal her major goal for 2005 to many people because she thought it was too lofty.
But, after achieving her goal, the 16-year-old is now happy to say what it was.
On Sunday, Courtney claimed her second successive under-17 Australian ironwoman gold medal, her prime goal for this year.
When she was interviewed last week, Courtney said her main goal for the national titles was to make the final.
It was the same thing she told most people.
But, while she maintains that making the final was always her goal, she now admits she also harboured dreams of defending the ironwoman title she claimed last year.
"I was extremely happy about it," she said of the victory.
"I really did just want to make the final and finish in the top three, but winning was also a major goal.
"But I didn't want to tell anyone because it was such a high goal ... I just kept it to myself."
She says the competition was a lot harder this year.
"The girls were a lot stronger this year, they had definitely stepped up their training," she said.
"It was tough because the surf was really big so I knew I had to be up there after the first leg (board) because it would be hard to catch up.
"I caught a big wave in with three other girls, who were all board paddlers.
"I was just hoping that I had enough of a break on the swimmers and that's the way it worked out."
The win also moved Courtney another step closer to a life-long ambition ? competing in next summer's Nutri-Grain ironwoman series.
"Ever since I was little I have wanted to (compete in the Nutri-Grain series)," Courtney says.
"Winning the ironwoman gives me a bit of confidence.
"But the Nutri-Grain series also involves the ski and I will need to improve (in that area)."
Her victory in the ironwoman event also made up for the disappointment of missing a podium finish in the surf race.
"I was happy with my swim and I was second all the way," she said.
"But a few of the girls who were behind me got a big wave out the back and I ended up ninth.
"It was pretty disappointing, but that's the surf I suppose, there wasn't much I could do about it."