Canoeist Matthias Schmidt:
For Marathon to Pietermaritzburg
Although the sport is not very well known, canoe marathon is very exciting: the athletes are not only in the water – they also have to cover a certain distance on land. They have to show endurance, be able to sprint and to run fast, and the races are very demanding – making them very interesting for spectators. The distances range between 20 and 40 kilometers. At the World Cup in South Africa, Schmidt will compete in the U23 group, covering a distance of 27 kilometers.
Sport is self-financed
Canoe marathon does not belong to the sports that are covered by the sports promotion program of the “Deutsche Sporthilfe”. This leads to a fundamental problem: “There are the costs of living in Munich – plus costs for new equipment, training camps, and things like that,” explains the canoeist.
In the winter, he was a working student at Linde Group in Pullach for a while. “That was time-consuming as well – in addition to the lectures at campus Garching, the training sessions in Oberschleißheim, and my involvement with the IKOM. It was normal for me to get up just after five in the morning and to be at home again at 9 pm.”
Support of TUM is excellent
Last year, Matthias Schmidt finished his Bachelor’s studies in Chemical Engineering – in the standard period of study. Currently, he is in his second Master’s semester of Chemical Engineering. What role does the university play for him? Matthias Schmidt: “TUM is a university of excellence, so the standard and the requirements are high.
But I was aware of that from the beginning, and that’s one of the reasons why I started studying here. Now, especially in the Master’s course, I have a lot of options and can customize my timetable myself. The support offers are very good – and the study counselor always has an open ear for my concerns."
Another important pillar is Schmidt’s sports club, the KG München. Founded in 2015, the club offers a good training environment at the regatta facility in Oberschleißheim, as well as a strong training group.
Preparation phase coincides with exams
Now, the actual preparation phase for the competition coincides with his exams. “So far, the exams went quite well – and I managed to find a good rhythm of learning and training, so I feel confident about the ones to come. Unfortunately, two of the exams will take place when I’m in South Africa,” says Matthias Schmidt. He’ll be able to catch up on them in the winter semester.
Schmidt doesn’t want to make a prediction for the World Cup in South Africa. “For me, it’s an opportunity to compete with the best in the world – and I think it will be a very exciting race. The outcome will not only depend on how well I am prepared, but also on my form on the day, a bit of luck, and several other factors. I’ll try to do the best I can.”
Matthias Schmidt’s race is scheduled for September 8, 2017, at 16:45 CEST.