In 2016, as a relative unknown, Van Wyk surprised many when she raced to a second place finish in the women’s lightweight single sculls at the Under-23 Championships.
A year later the Tuks High Performance Centre (HPC) rower makes no secret that she has higher aspirations.
There is a fair chance of the final being a repeat of what happened last year. Marieke Keijser of the Netherlands won, beating the fast-finishing Van Wyk. Both rowers are competing again.
Keijser has been in good form. At the recent World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, she finished second, losing out by less than three seconds to South Africa’s Kirsten McCann.
Van Wyk considers this result as a good confidence booster, as she and McCann are training partners and in tough training races, Van Wyk has come second to McCann by approximately the same margin.
She said: “I am better prepared than last. My goal was to get stronger and faster, and I think I have achieved that. If I should qualify for the final, the plan is not to play catch up again.”
The 2015 World Student Games in Korea turned out to be the turning point in her rowing career. She finished 3rd in the B-final of the lightweight women’s sculls.
“That result left me with two choices, I could let the failure get to me, or I could do something about it. I chose the latter.
“The failure motivated me to work harder. For the last two years, I have been on a daily quest to win seconds every time I row,” said the rower, who won a gold medal at an international regatta in Italy in April.
The other South African crews who have a realistic chance of a medal at the Under-23 Championships are Vaughn Botes and Nicholas Oberholzer in the lightweight men’s double sculls. They finished fourth last year.
Kyle Schoombee, in the men’s single sculls, can surprise. Luc Daffarn and Sandro Torrente, in the men’s pairs, may have high hopes if they qualify for the final.
Christopher Mittendorf will compete in the lightweight men’s single sculls while Garth Holden, Mzwandile Sotsaka, Charles Brittain, and Timothy Miller will team up in the men’s fours.
African News Agency