Universiteit Leiden

nl en
Elif Kırankaya - Elif Kırankaya

Sjoerd van Trigt: ‘Rowing is how I relax.'

When Sjoerd van Trigt, a student of International Studies, is not in the lecture hall, you can find him at Rowing Club Asopos de Vliet. He trains there seven times a week. Soon, he will be leaving for a six-month stay in Japan.

When you were a child, what did you want to become?

‘An astronomer! I even studied Physics and Astronomy for another year, but ended up following my more political and social interests. In my group of friends we were always talking about geopolitics. As well as that, I always want to know everything about history, so International Studies is a better match for my interests.'

What does your day look like?

‘Usually, I go by scooter from Nieuwkoop to Leiden Central, where I take the train to The Hague. I attend lectures, study, chat with friends, and then come back to Leiden. From there, I go to the Asopos rowing club in Leiderdorp. My training starts around dinner time, and can last up to three hours. After returning home, I often go straight to bed. That's one of the requirements if you're in the team: you have to go to bed early and sleep at least eight hours.’

How did you become such a dedicated rower?

'My sister was already a member of Asopos, so I had already heard a lot about it. I wanted to spend as much of my student time as possible doing sports, so I became a member too. In my first year I tried to get selected for the team, but I wasn’t the right build – I was too thin and slight. But after taking a special talent programme, I did manage it a year later. I now train seven times a week.’ 

How do you relax?

‘A lot of people would find what I do too much. Most days I’m hardly at home, but that’s perfect for me. Doing sports is how I relax and because you’re rowing in a team you easily make friends. My social life is centred around the club, though I also like gaming in my free time.’

What is your favourite place in The Hague or Leiden?

‘I love going to the Nieuwkoop lakes, although that’s in neither of those places. In summer you can swim there or take a boat out, and it’s great for walks out of season. I also really like the Asopos site, because it’s open and quiet.'

Next academic year, you're going on an exchange to Japan. Why that country?

'I did judo when I was a child and liked playing strategy games, like Civilization 5. I’d sometimes look something up on Wikipedia to see what was going on. I learned a lot about the culture of Japan and China, which meant I was already interested in the region when I started my studies. So it was logical to choose Japan as my specialisation and to go there on an exchange. I did make things complicated for myself because I was certain I wanted to carry on rowing. Eventually I managed to find a university where that’s possible, although I am taking something of a risk with it. I have to train for a year without my coaches, I’ll be in Japan during the team selections and I’ll be responsible myself for my fitness.  At the same time I think it will help me to have a more disciplined lifestyle and move forward as a person and as a sportsman.’ 

Have you ever been given a golden tip?

‘It’s not exactly a tip, but in recent years I’ve learned that you make more headway if you use your training time more efficiently than other people. If no one else does a round of abdominal exercises at the end of the workout and you do, you’re bound to make more progress in the end. Of course, the most important thing is to keep enjoying the sport. Doing something you don't really feel like doing anymore is only frustrating.’

This website uses cookies.  More information.