Campus - 16.09.2015 - 00:00 

Rowing "with a lot of coffee"

Two weeks ago, HSG student Claas Mertens won gold at the World Rowing Championships. Student Sophie Kwisda asked the world champion in the Lightweight Eight category how he can reconcile studies and sport.


18 September 2015. In early September, Claas Mertens become Rowing World Champion in the Lightweight Eight category. Mertens has been rowing at the top end of the sport for nine years. With a lot of coffee and good time management, he also contrived to obtain a Bachelor's degree from the HSG. The strengths of stamina and concentration on a target have made him successful both in his sport and at the University. Although the medallist is very satisfied with his present situation, he still dreams of more time off. However, a new target has already been set for the coming year: participation in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Whether his concentration is focused on studies at the Master's Level, professional life or the 2020 Olympic Games after all primarily depends on his performance in the coming year.

Sophie Kwisda: How did it go for you at the Championships?

Claas Mertens: The World Championship went optimally. Our goal was to win, and tension was correspondingly high. The final was the toughest race of the season, but it was worth it.

How long have you been rowing?

I first sat in a rowing boat ten years ago. I’ve been in competitive rowing for nine years.

How can you reconcile studying and high-performance sport?

With a lot of coffee. Good time management isn’t unimportant either.

Which of your strengths can you use both in sports and in your studies?

I think that working towards a goal with perseverance and concentration is very important in the run-up to both an exam and a World Championship.

What activities do you think you you miss out on because of your sport, or rather, what activities would you like to pursue if you had more time?

Time is roughly the only thing which everyone has the same amount of every day, and actually I’m very satisfied with what I’m doing. More time off would be great of course, but then everyone says that…

What major did you choose?

Business Administration.

Which semester are you in at the HSG?

I handed in my Bachelor’s thesis a few weeks ago – that was my eighth and last semester.

What does the near future look like?

My goal is participation in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Until then I'll concentrate entirely on rowing in any case and I'll be unable to start on a Master’s course at the same time. At the moment, I'm on holiday in Morocco but in a week I'll resume my training at full power.

Whether after 2016 I'll continue until the 2020 Olympic Games or will concentrate fully on my studies and my career is something I don't know yet. That primarily depends on how things go next year.

Picture: Fotolia / Christian Schwier

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