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8 Μαΐου 2010

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH Sara Karlsson (May 2010)

5 May 2010
To distinguish between Sweden’s lightweight rowing twins, Sara and Lena Karlsson, has been a challenge in recent years. That has changed. Sara, 28, is now the main rower of the duo and living in Austria while Lena is in Sweden and recently had a baby.
Sara, our Athlete of the Month for the month of May, talks to World Rowing about how she ended up in Austria, the competition between her and Lena and her passion for rowing.
World Rowing: Tell us about your beginnings in rowing?
Sara Karlsson:
I was always into sport. I used to do a lot of running with my sister and we wanted to try something different. Rowing is popular in our town so my sister and I started.
WR: Is there sport in your family?
Yes, my mother has always done horse riding, although I don’t know if I would really consider it a sport – but I wouldn’t tell my mum that! My father used to do a lot of running. So I started with running with my sister. We did middle distance – 5 to 10km. I wasn’t that good.
WR: How did you compare to Lena?
We were always quite equal. In rowing we were quite equal as long as both of us were doing the same training. I was a bit stronger on the erg. We have always been very competitive against each other. In running we were very competitive. I wouldn’t want to show my happiness (to Lena) if I won. In studies we are competitive as well.
WR: In rowing what did you mainly train in?
We’ve mainly done training in the double, but in autumn and winter in the single. In the single we are competitive but not too much. We keep it down as otherwise we’d be too tired to finish the training.
WR: Do you and Lena have similar strengths and weaknesses as rowers?
Technically we’re actually not that similar. What I had to work on was quite different. I don’t know how this came about. It was sometimes hard when we were in the double together as I’d hear Lena get instructions and I’d then try to do the same, but that wasn’t useful.
WR: Is Lena still rowing?
No, she’s doing some training but not much racing because she had a baby a few months ago. So she’s been back in the boat since about two weeks ago. She was pretty extreme at keeping fit during pregnancy. She kept rowing until she couldn’t reach the catch any more. She’s not rowing competitively this season.
WR: What brings you to Austria?
Firstly because my boyfriend lives in Vienna. I decided to look at the possibilities of doing a PhD in Vienna and also because Lena is not doing much rowing at the moment.
My PhD’s in financial mathematics and I’m in my third year.
WR: How do you fit rowing into your studies?
I do a lot of rowing now, but besides rowing and work/study, I do not do much :). I get up at about 6am and go to the New Danube (river) most mornings. Then I go to university and work but as I don’t have to go for regular hours, I’m quite flexible, so then I go training again in the afternoon. Study and rowing is a lot easier than work and rowing.
WR: What are your rowing plans for this month?
I’ll be in Vienna and will go to the Duisburg Regatta then back to Vienna before going to Bled (World Cup). I will start in Bled in the single and after that I’ll have to prove myself against other women in the single to be chosen for Sweden. At present the single is much more practical than to try going into a team boat with my Swedish teammates.
WR: How do you organise coaching as you are not in Sweden?
My coach is my boyfriend so it’s very nice and practical. I used to see rowers that had relationships with their coaches and I wondered how it worked. Now I see it’s very practical. He is with me most mornings.
WR: What race are you most proud of?
It’s hard to say because there’s a few races I’m happy about, but I haven’t won anything big. I did get a silver last year at the World Cup (in the single).
WR: After a decade of racing internationally, what’s your drive to keep going?
I have things to improve on and I haven’t reached my best yet. Also I really like rowing. I feel good when I’m on the water. I find it hard not to do rowing, when the weather’s nice it’s really a privilege, it’s a good thing to be a rower.

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