It's double gold in Italy for McCann and Van Wyk | SASCOC - SASCOC

It’s double gold in Italy for McCann and Van Wyk


Kirsten McCann and Nicole van Wyk both raced to gold at the recent Regata Internazionale Memorial Paolo d’Aloja in Italy.

Last year’s Rio Olympics rower, McCann, won the women’s single sculls, while Van Wyk was victorious in the lightweight women’s single sculls.

Lawrence Brittain, silver medallist at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio, teamed up with Jake Green to win a silver medal in the men’s pair final. On Saturday they finished third. It was the first time the South Africans raced internationally this season.

Roger Barrow, South Africa’s national rowing coach, is thinking about altering things a little. One of his ideas is not to team up his boats too early and rather play around a bit.

‘During the last Olympic cycle we might have partnered certain people too early. For me it is not about making ‘boats’ now. It is about making individuals very fast.’

That is why he is thinking that McCann (TuksRowing) should compete in the single sculls this year, rather than pairing her in the lightweight double sculls boat.

For the same reason Van Wyk (TuksRowing), who won a silver medal at last year’s World Under-23 Championships, will also still be competing in a single boat. Barrow wants her to win a gold medal at the same championships.

‘It is all about doing the right thing at the right time. I really don’t want to put pressure on a team boat too early on. Do we know whether Kirsten and Nicole are going to be very fast? Yes they are. Are they going to be at the top end of world rowing? Sure. But do we expose them too early? The same goes for the other boats.

‘South Africa’s got a small pool of top rowers. Therefore I don’t think we want to put too much pressure on ourselves too early. It is going to be about doing the right thing at the right time.

‘Personally, last year’s Olympic Games was a bitter experience for me. Everybody is excited that we got all these fourth and fifth place finishes in the finals. But to me it sucked.

‘I was hoping that those five boats would all bring back medals. As a coach it is important to me to make sure that we are knocking on medals when we compete at the Games. I’d rather take just one boat and make sure that we get a medal, than take five boats and finish fourth.’

Picture of McCann hard at work in the gym courtesy of Reg Caldecott

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