Photo: Marissa Dederer

Conversations with a Ram

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Although he is not on a Ryerson team, Marissa Dederer sits down with Sam Roworth, a Rye student who is on Ontario’s Flatwater Sprint Kayaking Team

Sam Roworth

Hometown: Toronto

Residence: Scarborough

Program: Business

Sport: Flatwater sprint kayaking


You’re on Team Ontario, what does being on the team mean?

Well I get funding and because I’m on Quest for Gold, I get funding from the government that pays for my tuition and then I also get free physio and massage therapy. I get to see the sports doctors at the U of T whenever I need them.


Is that often?

I go at least once a week for massage and right now I’m seeing the docs a lot to try and figure out what the root cause of all the pain is throughout my back.

Have you been injured otherwise?

I got elbow surgery in 2007 because I had a bone defect in my elbow. So it would keep trying to heal itself and the strain of training breaks pieces off so they get stuck in my joint and wear down the cartilage and aggravate the tendons.


That sounds really painful.

It’s better now. Once I got the surgery it kind of cleared up a lot so it hasn’t happened in a while. But they always thought it was tendonitis forever, until they finally did an MRI at the physio and it was just like, “you guys are retarded.”


So despite your two main injuries, you’ve kept paddling. Why this sport?

I grew up at the club (Balmy Beach Canoe Club). When I was two or three, my sister started paddling. So I was always at regattas every weekend. I always wanted to get in a boat and go on the water. I was always trying to talk everyone into letting me go into their boat with them for the races. So I was just really interested when I was young and never really lost it. I’ve always been improving and I haven’t really had that many setbacks.  The way I’ve done my goal setting, I’ve made goals that keep me motivated and striving towards being on the national team.


What’s your most memorable moment?

Um, (pause) probably in 2006, my dad was the commodore of the club and he presented me and my sister with our first-ever nationals medals. So that was pretty exciting. And he’s presented me with every single medal I’ve won at nationals since.


Do you have a favourite place to paddle?

I really like paddling in Hungary, Budapest, on the Danube. I think that’s probably the coolest place I’ve paddled and I definitely want to go back there to train more.


What was so interesting about it?

Well there was really amazing water. Like you could go forever in any direction and it was always calm. When you’re on the water you’d see like ten-time Olympic champions paddling by. And they’re trying to figure out who you are and why you’re there because they’ve never seen you before and they know you’re not from Hungary and your coach used to be their coach… It was kind of cool.


Were you still in school then?

I finished my exams through Chang School. I do online through the winter so I can go to Florida (for training camps) and stuff. I did all my exams three days before my flight.


Is it the same with the day school?

It’s a little bit harder with the day school because they have the policies that they have to follow because if you say that (you’re going to train), someone else is going to come and try to say the same thing to try and get out of a deadline. But as long as you’re trying to put the effort in and know really early in the school year, like I’m going to be away these days and I’m going to miss this deadline but I’ll send it in to you. Can I email it in? Or I have someone that can invigilate my midterms if you send them down to me. And usually they’re pretty okay with deadlines and then they’ll just reschedule your midterm.


How do you manage your part time job with training and with school?

Well first, every year I get my training schedule as early as I can from Peter (Martinek), my coach. Then I go through and make my school schedule based on my training schedule and what classes I can fit in there and then after that I give work my availability. And since I get one of the first choices for hours, it works out perfectly for me.


What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up at 5:45 a.m. and I make my food to make sure I last from when I walk out the door until dinner time at seven when I get home. I go to practice for two hours sometimes it’ll be three hours if we have a double practice and then I’ll go to class for my lectures. Right as soon as my class is over I get back on the TTC, head back to practice and then do another workout. And after that, I’ll get to go home.


What sort of food are you making yourself when you’re deciding what to eat at 5:45 a.m. in the morning?

I hope there are leftovers in the fridge first of all. That saves so much time. I’ve been finding couscous really easy to make and I can just throw some chicken and stuff in there. I’ll have a peanut butter and honey sandwich in the morning, a bunch of granola bars, usually a Gatorade or sports drink so that I increase my calories for the day, and some water. It’s never a proper meal but it’s close enough and gets me through the day. Then sometimes I’ll still hit the food court.


It’s a Friday night, what are you doing?

Usually I get home at 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and then I make food.  If I go out, I won’t drink anything because I know if I come to practice hung-over the next morning, Peter is going to kill me and usually I have practice at 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. So I save up going out until Saturdays


What’s your dream?

Well medalling at the Olympics would be my ultimate goal. But I won’t be disappointed if I don’t make it that far if I’ve given it my all and done absolutely everything I can to get as far as I can.

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