1 Aug 2018

Swiss perfectionist Jeannine Gmelin ready to take on rowing world

The reigning World Champion is looking to continue her improvement, which she credits to a lot of hard work over a number of years.

A few years ago, Swiss rower Jeannine Gmelin (SUI) was a fixture in the middle of the international women's single sculls field. But since the beginning of last season she has emerged as the top contender in a classy field of scullers.

The reigning World Champion credits her improvement to a lot of hard work over a number of years, rather than one single thing.

"You don't put in the work today and get the reward tomorrow," Gmelin said. "The reward will come maybe in two years. I was just able to find the edge and find my whole potential."

Gmelin admits to being a perfectionist; perhaps not in all she does, but certainly on the water. That has helped the 1.71-metre athlete excel in a sport normally dominated by much taller women.

"Rowing isn't just about height and weight," she said. "Rowing is so much more.

There's a big mental aspect and a technical aspect. It helped me being in a single because I could feel my weaknesses and my strengths and play around with what suits me

The other element that has helped Gmelin make the leap to the top of her sport was the appointment of Robin Dowell (GBR) as chief coach of the Swiss rowing team.

Although technically Dowell's approach did not differ much from that of his predecessor, New Zealander Ian Wright, Gmelin said his influence off the water has been significant.

"One big thing I learned from him is to focus on the process, not the outcome," she said. "If you feel whole as a person you can be a good athlete; the person needs to come first."

That self-knowledge has carried through to the way Gmelin is dealing with being the sculler everyone else wants to beat.

"Dealing with the expectations from the outside is quite easy, because the highest expectation is coming from myself."

The Rowing at Glasgow 2018 begins on Thursday 2 August and concludes on Sunday 5 August.