Birthdate21 Jul 1994
University attended (if)University of British Columbia
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Athlete of the Month – April 2019
Canadian sweep rower, Hillary Janssens, became a World Champion for the first time last year when she won the women’s pair with her teammate Caileigh Filmer. The 24-year-old tells us about chilly winter trainings and what’s in store this year.
World Rowing: How does it feel starting the year as World Champion?
Hillary Janssens: It’s a strange feeling to be a reigning World Champion. On one hand, it gives me confidence knowing that I have what it takes to race and win against the best, but on the other hand, it’s terrifying, knowing that everyone is training, getting faster, and will have that extra bit of motivation to beat us when we line up next to them.
WR: How have you spent the international off-season?
HJ: We spent the winter months training as usual, just with a lot more clothes on. When the weather was really bad, we spent some quality time with the ergs and stationary bikes.
WR: What is the dynamic like in your pair? What do you each bring to the crew?
HJ: Caileigh has exceptional boat feel, and an obscene amount of aerobic ability in the middle of the race. She is also the most positive person I have ever met. I like to think I bring a long, efficient rhythm to the boat, and a fearless attitude toward racing. We joke that I do the first and last 500 meters of the race, and she does the middle thousand.
WR: What is your favourite part of training?
HJ: I like the rewarding feeling after having finished a difficult workout, and the opportunity to push my limits both physically and mentally.
WR: What brings the most challenges?
HJ: For me, my mind is my biggest challenge. I know that it can be one of my biggest assets, but it can also be my greatest downfall.
WR: What is your race day routine?
HJ: On race day, I try to stay relaxed as I prepare myself physically. Usually, this involves switching back and forth between thinking about the race, and avoiding thinking about the race.
WR: What’s your big rowing goal?
HJ: To win an Olympic gold medal.
WR: How did you come to take up rowing?
HJ: I started rowing at UBC (University of British Columbia), when I was approached multiple times by members of the rowing team, who were walking around campus and asking tall, athletic people to come and try the sport. I wanted to meet people and stay fit, but rowing has clearly given me so much more than I ever could have imagined.
WR: Are you a fulltime rower?
WR: What do you do for fun?
HJ: I like to read, hike, bike, make food, and eat it.
WR: Which sportsperson do you most admire?
HJ: I think sport can bring out the best in people, so I can’t pick one person who inspires me above everyone else. On a daily basis, I’m inspired by my teammates.