Noelle Dykmann has come a long way as a first year student at Kansas State University.
She started her freshman year last fall in rowing with the novice crews. Now this spring, she has moved up to the First Varsity Eight (1V8) boat, and recently she was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the league’s coaches.
She is the first Wildcat rower to earn the honor.
Kansas State coach Patrick Sweeney said, “Noelle is really deserving of this award. She came onto to the team with absolutely no rowing experience, and in a short span has managed to use her natural athletic abilities and good work ethic to earn her way onto the First Varsity Eight.
“Noelle has also shown herself to be an exemplary teammate, vesting interest in the team as a whole, and she has provided a great example to all of our incoming athletes.”
A Lenexa resident, Dykmann said she was honored to receive the award.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be on this team, learn this sport, and also for the other athletes in my boat for accepting me and helping me to push harder every day,” she said.
Also, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year isn’t her only award during her freshman year. She was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
A former athlete at St. James Academy, Dykmann came across rowing almost by accident.
“I played basketball and soccer in high school, and I had never heard of rowing,” she said. “I got letters from K-State Rowing, came on a visit and that's how it all began.”
What made her decide to go to Kansas State and join the rowing team?
“The aspect of being on a team was really appealing to me, and I liked that because I had always been on a team before,” she said. “I was already thinking about K-State, and was really drawn to the community, which was different from other schools. Rowing was just a bonus.”
Her job in the First Varsity Eight boat is simple.
“Every seat has the same job, which is to pull as hard as you can,” she said. “As a seven seat specifically, I need to help set the rhythm for the girls in the boat.”
And as a first-year rower, she has had lots to learn.
“I still have a lot to learn, especially being in a boat with upperclassmen who have more racing experience,” she said. “If I add anything to the boat, it would be energy and open-mindedness, which I think every boat can benefit from.”
At 5-feet-11, Dykmann is still learning the technical side to rowing.
“I can definitely work on the technical side of rowing,” she said. “I know I have so much to learn still, I’m just getting started. And I can always be fitter and stronger to make the team faster.”
Rowing has become a big part of her life, and she feels it will benefit her down life’s road.
“Rowing has taught me a lot of lessons I can use in the rest of my life: mental toughness and focus in the classroom, especially, and determination and willingness to push myself past what I thought was possible,” she said. “I’m just getting started with this, and it’s already changing my life in so many ways.”