Lovisa Claesson, Women's Single Sculls, Sweden, 2020 Olympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, Japan / World Rowing/Detlev Seyb

Lovisa Claesson who is representing Sweden in the women’s single sculls at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is coached by her father, Per Olof. We spoke with father and daughter to ask how that came about and how it works for them.

“Well, it was quite easy – there was no one else! It was actually Lovisa’s big brother that started rowing first and then Lovisa was the youngest one, so she had to follow. We started to play at the rowing club and then it started to get more and more serious. From the beginning, it wasn’t planned to be elite. I started to learn about coaching with her brother so Lovisa has a bit of an advantage,” says Per Olof.

Per Olof was also coach to Sweden’s successful lightweight sculler, Emma Fredh. Lovisa says, “we’re from the same Club. She’s five years older than me so when I was about sixteen I started training with her, and she taught me a lot about how to train hard.”

 Asked how they manage to separate rowing life and family life, Lovisa says, “we end up talking about rowing quite a lot! The others don’t always want to talk about rowing though, so we try not to when we’re with them. When it’s just me and Dad, we talk about rowing.”

And asked what happens if they have a bad session, Per Olof laughs and says: “she doesn’t have bad sessions.”

But Lovisa adds, “I do have bad sessions and sometimes I then talk before I think it through and if it were to be another person I would probably think it through a bit more.

“I think we’re quite good at that,” Per Olaf says. “But sometimes we disagree and then perhaps we get a little bit more angry with each other than I did with Emma.”

Lovisa Claesson, Women’s Single Sculls, Sweden, 2021 World Rowing Cup II, Lucerne, Switzerland / Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com

Per Olof is an experienced oarsman himself and represented Sweden at the Olympic Games in 1988 (in the coxless four) and 1992 (in the quadruple sculls) He has been able to bring learnings from his own experiences in order to benefit Lovisa.

 “Well, it’s actually from my own rowing that I’ve learned about coaching. I’m not a super-educated rowing coach. I was away from rowing for 15 years and then I had other coaching experience in my work life as a sales manager, and it’s actually the same. You just have to find the right process and who really wants to perform. Then it’s easy to be a coach!”

Asked about her experience of the Games so far, Lovisa responds, “It has been fun, but real tough. It’s hard. Everyone rows so fast! But really fun to be here and it’s a good experience.”

Lovisa doesn’t just have her father here, but her boyfriend too – Jack Beaumont who is racing in the Great Britain men’s quadruple sculls. “I see him to wave to from far away, I hope I can see him after the racing. He was really happy with his race yesterday so that was nice.”

 Lovisa will next race in the semifinal C/D of the women’s single sculls at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Regatta.