Otago goals all ticked off - US now for Hofmans

Eva Hofmans (19) prior to heading back to Cambridge yesterday, after winning rower of the year at...
Eva Hofmans (19) prior to heading back to Cambridge yesterday, after winning rower of the year at the Otago Rowing Awards. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Eva Hofmans had one thing left to do in Otago rowing.

Now she has achieved that and is firmly set on chasing bigger goals.

The 19-year-old was named rower of the year at Saturday night’s Otago Rowing Awards.

Hofmans returned to Dunedin for the awards, having been living and training in Cambridge in recent months since being named in the New Zealand under-21 team.

It is providing ideal preparation for her next destination — Yale University in Connecticut, United States, where she will row as well as study.

"You’re surrounded by athletes who are also trying to do the same things you are," Hofmans said of the set-up at Lake Karapiro and Cambridge.

"So you’re pushing each other.

"I’ve noticed our small group in under-21s, we’re all pushing each other on the water.

"It’s nice being in a group environment like that.

"In the past it’s been my coach [her former coach John Parnell] in a coach boat behind me, pushing me so I don’t crash into his boat, trying to keep ahead of him."

Had Covid-19 not hit, Hofmans would have spent the past year at the Ivy League school.

Instead, she completed one semester of online classes, while moving to Alexandra to compete and train with Dunstan Arm and be coached by Simon Smith.

She had fortnightly Zoom meetings with her Yale team and coaches as well, so was familiar with the group.

When she finally lands on American soil on August 29, it will be 22 months since she had her official visit.

She is excited about getting there, although would be sad to leave behind her family and friends in Dunedin.

While the Covid-19 situation had improved since this time a year ago, it was still weighing on Hofmans’ mind.

"Moving across the other side of the world in Covid is a different story.

"I’m excited for the flight to America. The flight I have to take from San Francisco to New York, that’s what I’m most worried about.

"I’m not worried about leaving home or finding my way around campus, it’s just that flight when I know there will be Covid on the plane."

She said Yale had a blanket policy on allowing only vaccinated students back on campus.

That was reassuring and she was hoping to have the vaccine before she left.

Hofmans, who was part of the junior world champion quadruple sculls crew two years ago, had also been contending with a shoulder injury.

That had been very painful at times, but she said the set-up at Dunstan had allowed her to balance training and recovery well over the summer.

It also meant she could row in the Otago region and she had been thrilled to cap that season with an award on Saturday night.

"It was the top award for a single person and now I feel like I can’t beat that at the Otago Rowing Awards.

"I feel like I’ve done all I need to do and I can go comfortably."

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