German sculler Patrick Leineweber is this month’s University Rower in Focus. Patrick talks to World Rowing about winning gold on home waters at the 2015 European University Rowing Championships in Hannover, Germany and his goal of representing Germany in Rio.
World Rowing: How did you get involved in rowing?
Patrick Leineweber: I got involved at the age of 12. My older brother had picked up rowing one year earlier and I became curious what all his excitement was about. So, in 2004 I gave rowing a shot, got into a shell, fell in love with the sport and continued ever since.
WR: Where and what are you studying?
PL: Mechanical Engineering at Leibniz University.
WR: Did rowing influence your choice of university to attend?
PL: Rowing has influenced all major decisions I ever had to make, so the choice of university was also based on the quality of sporting facilities and how supportive the university was towards athletes.
WR: What is training like?
PL: In Berlin with Karl Schulze and Hans Gruhne, who won the World Championships in the quadruple sculls. Being part of such a strong squad might make the difference between succeeding and just missing out.
WR: What is your favourite regatta?
PL: Generally speaking I favour the World Rowing events. There is no greater feeling than lining up next to the best athletes from around the world and enjoying the sensation of all the training narrowing down to the coming 2000 metres.
WR: What goes through your head as you line up for a race?
PL: As I am lining up I usually go through the race plan one more time, try to remember the things I want to focus on and ultimately encourage myself to embrace the upcoming pain.
WR: How do find balancing rowing and studying?
PL: It was way harder than I ever imagined it to be. It is nearly impossible to satisfy rowing and studying without having to compromise. When I focus on an aim, I like to fully commit myself, which is why I had some troubles shifting priorities between rowing and studying.
WR: How did it feel to be the first local gold medallist at the 2015 European University Rowing Championships?
PL: Racing an international rowing event like the European University Rowing Championship on home water was an exceptional opportunity to compete in front of my family and friends. Winning the single scull and being able to share this experience created extraordinary memories and made me very proud.
WR: What are your long term goals and aspirations?
PL: Even though my rowing career will continue past the Olympic Games, the longest I am currently planning is this August. After being the spare for the German Sculling Team in 2015 and having seen what it is like to compete at the World Championships. I am now training towards the Olympic trials and ultimately the Olympic Games in Rio.
WR: Do you have any other hobbies?
PL: Currently I am really short of time, so most of the time I have to spare is spent with my family and friends. Nevertheless, if my training and time allows it, I enjoy going to the opera, reading and cooking.
WR: To whom do you look for inspiration?
PL: When I started rowing, Olaf Tufte was all the inspiration I needed. Seeing him winning two Olympic gold medals in such an impressive way really got me dreaming. That is why lining up next to Tufte at this year’s third World Cup in Luzern was a dream come true.