When Simon Schürch started rowing at fourteen, the swim at the end of training was an important reason to keep going. "Eventually the first regattas came, the first podium finishes, the first Junior World Championships, then I thought, if I train a bit more, maybe this could turn into something."
The man from Schenkon (LU) has been training for 20 to 25 hours per week for years. He can also spend two weeks at a time exclusively in the weights room. Despite this, he is still very slight: 1.85 metres tall, he weighs 69 kilos in competitive form. Alongside this, he is also studying for a degree in Economics. He consequently lives from Monday to Wednesday in his students' flat-sharing community in Zurich, and from Thursday until Sunday in Sarnen, where the best Swiss rowers have their training centre. "Rowing is my first priority," Simon makes clear.
These days having fun swimming is not his primary motivation. "I enjoy pushing myself every day," he explains. By this Simon means not only working each day on his pain thresholds but also, day to day, week to week, setting himself small goals to reach in order to complete the puzzle by competition day.
By London 2012 he was rowing in the lightweight four. Starting as favourites, the Swiss were in the final five on a wind-exposed outside lane. An huge achievement and an equally huge frustration for the four athletes. "It was clear then that we needed to make a change," explained Simon about what followed.
He switched boats and now sits with Mario Gyr in the double scull. In the first season as a duo, with far too few kilometers on the water together from Simon's point of view, they came third in the European Championships and second in the World Championships. "We rowers think in four-year cycles," explains Simon and by that he means that every stroke of a top rower is aimed at the Olympic Games.
Despite this, there are no Brazilian flags in his room, stresses the man from Lucerne. There are many intermediate goals to reach, for example the World Championship title in double sculls: "There ought to be a real chance of this if we spend more time together on the water". Simon hardly has any motivation problems, he wouldn’t want to swap with anyone, "even though it would be nice to be good at a sport for which you didn't have to train so much and so hard.”