THE honour of joining athletes such as super star swimmers James Magnussen and Geoff Huegill on stage at the NSW Institute of Sport Awards later this month is just an appetiser for Maclean sailor Gabrielle King.
Two weeks after that King will be in Perth for the ISAF World Championships, where she will be sailing for a possible spot in the Australian Olympic team.
King, 21, knows that a strong performance at these championships, held every four years a year before the Olympics, would boost her chance of going to London next year.
"I'm probably ranked second in Australia in the Laser Radials behind Krystal Weir," she said.
"I've just started working with a new coach, fixing some of the holes in my sailing.
"There's a lot for me to work on. I've definitely got a steep learning curve in front of me."
But second best will not cut it for the young athlete, with only one sailor selected on the team in each category.
"It's a huge event," she said.
"There will be sailors from all round the world going really hard to qualify for their Olympic teams."
In the meantime King, who is studying a combined Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science at the University of NSW, has been nominated for the Australian College of Physical Education Academic Excellence - General award for achieving high honours at university while managing her sailing endeavours.
She has studied six subjects during the nomination period, earning four high distinctions, a distinction and a credit, and was named the recipient of the Ben Lexcen Sport Scholarship at UNSW.
She added to her strong university results with a sixth place finish in the women's laser radial at the German leg of the 2010/11 ISAF Sailing World Cup.
The awards night, to be held at the Australian Turf Club at Randwick on Thursday, November 17, and to be hosted by NSWIS deputy chairman Alan Jones, will also feature world champion cyclist Kaarle McCulloch, swimming champion Eamon Sullivan and leading wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley.
Others to earn recognition for outstanding performances in 2011 via nomination for awards include world champion swimmer Matt Abood, Olympic divers Alex Croak and Melissa Wu, and world champion rower Daniel Noonan.