Luke Mortimer

Size is no barrier for young rower

NIKITA Kean's small stature does little to indicate her strong rowing skills and steadfast determination, which regularly see the 17 year old zipping past larger competitors with ease.

The 159cm tall Trinity Catholic College student is much shorter than the average female rower, who typically measure taller than 175cm, but that doesn't slow down her waterborne supremacy.

Nikita's Lismore Rowing Club peers reckon she has a heart like Phar Lap, but the modest sportswoman, who's off to the Queensland School Rowing Championships tomorrow, says it's all down to training hard.

"I try to be like the small, determined one," Nikita joked.

"I'm really short, so I feel like I have to train harder."

Nikita, who's busy juggling year 11 exams and training, said she began rowing in 2010 and found herself drawn to the sport.

"I just love the freedom of rowing," she said.

"Even if you're not training really hard, just going for a nice row is great. It's peaceful when you're out on the water."

While the emerging young athlete is well aware her schooling remains important, she said her sights are set on a rowing career.

"I've been to Sydney, State and Queensland before for rowing," she noted.

"I really would like to take it further and make a lightweight team.

"I guess you just have to train really hard. Harder than other people are training to beat them. You've just got to have that mindset that you really love it and really want it.

"I'll just take it as it comes though."

Nikita's coach, Peter Wallace, said preparations for the championships are going well, with the pair excited to take it to the teams north of the border.

He believes Nikita's light weight and high fitness level will be an element of surprise to rivals, which will be held at Bundaberg from tomorrow to Monday.

Nikita thanked her coaches and peers who've helped her develop in the sport.

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