When an athlete has been a part of SASI for as long as kayaker Hannah Davis, her departure is sure to make waves. For the past 15 years, Hannah has represented SASI with pride and integrity – earning the respect of her peers and racking up many awards, including a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the K4 500m and culminating with a national title in the K2 200m at the 2014 Australian Kayak Nationals.
Speaking of her final performance as a SASI athlete, coach Nathan Luce said, "Hannah didn’t qualify for any Olympic distances but she finished her time with SASI on a great note. There will be a huge hole when she leaves. She's been a leader and a role model for both the men's and women's squads. She doesn't just go to training and train; she gets involved in everyone's lives and they all look up to her. She is a great example of a sporting role model. She will be missed for more than what she did on the water…she is a great person to have around."
Hannah made the move to Sydney in April, where she has accepted a part-time position with Surf Lifesaving Australia as its International Development Coordinator. When asked about her decision to leave, she said, "I am passionate about my sport but it doesn’t define me." With a BA and Masters in International Relations from Adelaide University, she will be able to combine her study with her love of all sports, particularly surf lifesaving.
Hannah's involvement in surf lifesaving began on the beaches of the Glenelg Surf Lifesaving Club when she was just a little nipper. It wasn't long before she became a much-loved fixture at the club. If it wasn't for a talent ID session at Mercedes College when she was in year 9, her knack for kayaking may have gone unnoticed. After accepting an invitation to a kayaking come-n-try, she "never looked back" – it was a decision that served both her and SASI extremely well.
SASI Director Wes Battams has followed and supported Hannah's achievements since her early days with the Institute and is of two minds about her leaving. He wishes her all the best in her next endeavour, but admits she will be greatly missed.
"Hannah holds a special place in the heart and history of SASI. She represents the best you can get in our athletes. An outstanding achiever in both her sport and her studies, she exemplifies the very role model that we so often promote in sport," he said.
"She has always been a team player and has been an emerging leader and female icon in her sport, especially with her appointment in 2011 on the International Canoe Federation’s Athlete's Committee.
"Hannah has a very strong social conscience and commitment and has a positive and infectious influence on those she works with and meets. We have been very privileged to have had Hannah in our community for all these years."
As they say, all good things must come to an end. Hannah leaves SASI with many fond memories. "SASI has become like a second family to me," says the 28-year-old. "It is really going to be difficult to leave."