Olympic dreams get closer for Mississauga swimmer turned rower


Published January 12, 2024 at 2:09 pm

martine nyhof mississauga rower

A Mississauga rower’s dreams of heading to the Olympics just got a little bit closer.

Martine Nyhof, 22, who grew up in Mississauga, is one of 30 young people to win funding and support at the RBC Training Ground national final.

RBC Training Ground is an annual cross-country talent search run in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Sport Institutes.

The program will help Nyhof with Olympic-level preparations in rowing including getting to events and training camps.

“I have a dream to go to the Olympics…my aspirations are 2028,” Nyhof tells insauga.com

But Nyhof is new to the sport of rowing having spent much of her youth focused on swimming.

Nyhof attended Mississauga Secondary School and swam with the COBRA Swim Club until her last two years of high school when she moved to train at the Toronto PanAm Centre in Scarborough.

She tried for the RBC Training Ground in 2016 and they thought she could be a competitive rower. But Nyhof was focused on swimming at the time and made it to Olympic trials.

She was as recruited for swimming at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia but didn’t make it to the Olympics for swimming.

Nyhof decided to try for the RBC Training Ground again, and she was one of only 100 athletes invited to the final in Toronto on Dec. 2, and one of 30 of the finalists selected for funding.

martine nyhof rower

As a tall (six feet), strong woman with a good endurance background, she was tapped for rowing.

“We met Martine at RBC Training Ground last year, and introduced her to rowing because she showed some real potential,” said Laurence Cote, Next Gen recruitment coordinator, Rowing Canada.

“She’s only been on the water for a short time, but her results in the strength and endurance tests, which surpassed our national standards, are so strong we think her abilities will transfer really well to high performance rowing.”

martine nyhof mississauga rower

Martine Nyhof tries out for RBC Training Ground on Dec. 2 in Toronto. Photo: Kate Dockeray

Nyhof has already been invited to the U23 World Championships Selection Camp.

Now a registered nurse working with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Nyhof balances her training and shift work because she is driven to succeed.

“People call me crazy,” she says. “But I’m very driven, motivated.”

If she has a day shift, she starts her day with training at 5:30 a.m. And if she works the night shift, she will either train before or after her shift.

Fortunately, she trains with the Nova Scotia provincial rowing team on Lake Banook not far from the hospital.

Now in its 8th year, RBC Training Ground is a nationwide talent identification and athlete-funding program dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of Canadian Olympians.

Since its inception in 2016, the program has tested 14,000 athletes at free local events across Canada with more than 2,000 being identified by NSO partners as having elite potential.

The recognition is significant, as thirteen RBC Training Ground athletes have already competed at two Olympic Games, and together they’ve brought home a collective seven medals.

Program alumni Kelsey Mitchell and Marion Thénault are among the medal winners, both of whom had never tried their Olympic sport before showing up at an RBC Training Ground event, only a few years before their Olympic debut. 

Visit RBCTrainingGround.ca for details.

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