Eleven questions with Patryk Wojtalak

Athlete Interview

3 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 03.08.22

Patryk Wojtalak, 21, from Poznan, Poland, made his senior international debut at 2022 World Rowing Cup 2. Racing in the bowseat of Poland’s men’s eight, Wojtalak added a world cup bronze medal to his 2019 European Rowing U23 Championships silver medal. Six weeks later Wojtalak and his eight finished in fifth place at 2022 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy. The Polish up-and-comer takes time out to answer eleven quick-fire questions.

Photo POL BM8+ at 2022 World Rowing Under 19 and Under 23 Championships
Credit Benedict Tufnell
Why rowing?

I was recruited by a local rowing coach who visited my school, looking for someone tall to join the crew. He told me that rowing makes you strong and gives you amazing endurance, so I went to the club for the first practice and I loved it. The feeling of the boat floating and flowing beneath is amazing, I still love it.

Favourite place to row?

The Sea Forest Waterway, in Tokyo, Japan. I raced at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships and it was the most exotic and interesting course I’ve ever visited.

Best race?

In autumn I came second and won a silver medal in the men’s four at the 2021 European Rowing U23 Championships. Everything went perfectly and it was one of the best races I’ve ever been a part of.

Worst race?

Okay… that’s a tricky one but it was probably during the U23 worlds last year [2021 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, in Racice, Czech Republic]. Unfortunately, we did not make the A-Final. We had the fastest time of the repechage and those racing in the B-Final, but we ended up coming fifth in the B-Final. It was tragic. We burst off of the start and we were fast for the first 70 meters or so and then we faded. A real fly and die effort!

Biggest strength?

I’m quite light for an openweight rower. I don’t add a lot of weight to the boat but my technique and endurance are good. I give it enough for my weight, so I have good a power to weight ratio.

What would you like to improve?

My strength and my explosive power. Any short pieces on the ergo like 100 meters to 500 meters are not my best distances.

Photo Patryk Wojtalak
Credit Benedict Tufnell
Favourite session?

I really like strength training, lifting weights in the gym is fun but I also like long steady pieces on the water.

Least favourite?

3×20 minutes rate 26, 28 on the water. I don’t like that session because it is long but also intense. It is the worst.

If not a rower, what sport would you do?

That’s a hard question. If I’d never found rowing, I’d probably be a long-distance runner, I love endurance sports. Or maybe a cross-country skier, that’s my second favourite sport. We cross country in the mountains during our winter training camps. It’s good fun.

Which crew do you most admire?

The polish men’s quadruple scull from Beijing 2008. They won Olympic gold. A lot of polish athletes look up to them. They are like national heroes!

Best advice you have been given?

When you race don’t focus on the medals or the end result, just focus on giving your best performance. Let the outcome be a surprise. 

Photo Patryk Wojtalak
Credit Benedict Tufnell