Team spirit powering canoe star Roeser’s remarkable rise

A canoeing prodigy from Guildford has credited an unstoppable team mentality as the key behind her ‘amazing’ 2023.

Greta Roeser, 18, medalled at every major international she competed at in 2023, with her haul including K1 5,000m gold at the Junior World Championships.

Roeser is coached by her dad Duncan, a key steerer of the ‘Team Greta’ motto and a former paddler himself, and the partnership worked wonders over a year which also included a European canoe marathon title and four national titles.

“I’m beyond amazed by my season,” she said.

“My coach is my dad and it’s been really good to have that connection on the water. It’s very much Team Greta in that sense.

“He actually paddled when he was younger, but I didn’t know that until I joined my club, and someone mentioned it.

“We saw the opportunity to get better this season and thought that if we got some more training sessions in and even maybe some early mornings then we could build.

“At the sprint worlds, I was a bit disappointed to finish eighth in the 1,000m, but I think it helped me relax a little bit before the 5k the next day. I went into that race wanting to give it my best go and ended up winning which was amazing.

“A week later, I had the marathon Europeans. I was in such a surreal state as I won gold there as well.”

That European gold was a bittersweet moment for Roeser, who won on the birthday of her late coach and close family friend Mick Gowan, her number one fan.

“My dad has been my coach for as long as I can remember,” she said.

“But last year I also had his friend and old coach Mick as a coach as well. He sadly passed away in March 2023, which caused a wobble in my training as he was such a big part of the team.

“He would have been running around at the worlds shouting, ‘Greta has won gold!’

“Mick was a massive Team Greta fan. He was just so brilliant in his knowledge and last year was the 13th Christmas that he had spent with us, so he really was part of the family.”

Following her incredible achievements on the water, Roeser has now been shortlisted in the top 10 for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award.

The annual Award, launched in 2006, recognises Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects and has previously been won by Olympic champions Tom Daley and Alex Yee and Paralympic gold medallist Hollie Arnold.

The top 10 athletes have been selected from around 1,000 rising stars, supported by SportsAid, across more than 60 different sports in 2023.

“I’m very happy and amazed as I didn’t think I was up to that standard,” said Roeser, who received her SportsAid support from Gateley this year.

“I did some research into what the Award was, and I didn’t realise or appreciate quite how big it is, so it really means a lot.

“My dad was the one that saw the email and it was just amazing.”

SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award is powered by Royal Bank of Canada – a long-standing supporter of the charity celebrating 10 years of partnership in 2023. The winner of this year’s Award will be revealed in December with each of the top 10 receiving cash boosts and special in-person visits at their training environments to celebrate their achievements.   

Photo credit: British Canoeing

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