Karolien Florijn comes from a rowing family – both her parents are Olympic rowers, and she and her younger brother Finn followed suit. A rower since age 14, Karolien is a three time European Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist in the Women’s Four, and has just claimed the overall World Rowing Cup trophy for the Netherlands in the women’s single sculls after winning gold at the 2022 World Rowing Cups I and II. She is our July 2022 Rower of the Month.
How has been the start to your 2022 rowing season been?
Very good. In April I was rowing with my clubmates from Nereus, the Varsity in the coxless four. This is the biggest event for students in Holland. And my rowing at the World Rowing Cups was a dream of course.
You had a great 2022 season so far – gold in the women’s single sculls at the first two World Rowing Cups. What has the switch to this boat class been like?
Quite easy, because I started as a junior rower in the single.
What prompted the switch to this boat class?
The Dutch head coach measured that I was fast in the single, and here I am.
How did you first get into rowing?
At first I was in judo and I wanted to continue with this sport, but there were no opportunities close to my hometown. My parents both rowed at the Olympic games, so I occasionally rowed with them.
When you aren’t rowing, what does your life look like?
I study law in Amsterdam.
What are your upcoming goals in rowing?
The upcoming European Rowing Championships (Munich, Germany, 11-14 August) and World Rowing Championships (18-25 September) in the single sculls.
Where is your favourite rowing location?
The Rotsee (Lucerne, Switzerland), Henley (Henley-on-Thames, England) and varsity Houten (the Netherlands).
If you could give one piece of advice to a rower starting out what would it be?
Go rowing in a single scull group with a mix of boys and girls. Row competitively and for pleasure.
What is the most memorable piece of advice that has been said to you?
Don’t show your back to your opponent.
Do you have a mentor or athlete that you admire?
Anton Geesink (judo) who won gold in the Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. It was very special as he won in the country where judo comes from.