Rising Star – March 2016
At 19 years old, the Netherlands’ Marieke Keijser has competed at three World Rowing Junior Championships. She raced twice in the women’s single sculls, first winning a bronze medal in 2014 and then going on to claim the title of World Junior Champion the following year.
Keijeser also won the famed Dutch regatta, the Holland Beker a number of times in her age category, even setting a junior record for this regatta. This year she is looking forward to competing internationally at the senior level for the first time.
World Rowing: How did you discover rowing?
Marieke Keijser: My brother was rowing, he told me about it and I decided to try and see if it would be as nice as he said it was… it was!
WR: Have you practiced any other sports?
MK: Before I discovered rowing I was a ballerina. I started ballet when I was little and was accepted for a year at the Royal Dutch Conservatorium. I also played field hockey, but that wasn’t a big success.
WR: Where do you train?
MK: I train in Rotterdam, at the Willem-Alexander course, where the World Rowing Championships will be held this summer.
WR: What is your best erg score so far?
MK: In December at the Dutch Rowing Indoor Championships I scored a personal best of 7:05.
WR: What are your hobbies outside of rowing?
MK: Baking pies and cookies is something I love to do (and also eat them) with my best friends. But I also like taking ballet classes.
WR: Do you study/work outside of rowing?
MK: I am still in high school. Because it is a special sports school I can spread one year of studying over two years. This makes it possible to train and study.
WR: Which rowing stars do you admire the most? Why?
MK: No idea… I don’t know them in person. If you are the best rower in the world but you are super mean, I don’t admire them. So everybody who is nice and rows hard, I admire.
WR: What is your favourite result so far?
MK: Winning the World Rowing Junior Championships in the single sculls. That feeling was so cool!
WR: If you could form your dream women’s eight, whom would you place in the boat?
MK: It would be an eight, formed with the lightweight doubles from New Zealand, Great Britain and South Africa. The last two spots would be filled by my doubles partner Amber (van Zomeren ) and me.
WR: What can always be found in your fridge?
WR: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
MK: A penguin, I think I watched 'Happy Feet' too much….
WR: What is your rowing goal for the coming season?
MK: Getting a good result at the first World Cup with my doubles partner Amber van Zomeren and to see how I am doing at the senior level. Also the World Rowing Championships in my hometown, but it is a bit early to talk about the end of August.
WR: What is your long-term goal in rowing?
MK: Enjoy rowing. And, of course, going to the Olympics and coming back with a gold medal.