Swiss rower describes the death drama surrounding her coach
Jeannine Gmelin tried to resuscitate her partner
During a training trip, former world rowing champion Jeannine Gmelin loses her 40-year-old coach and partner. In an interview, she describes the dramatic moments that took place on the water.
Published: 36 minutes ago
Updated: 34 minutes ago
Jeannine Gmelin announced her resignation last Wednesday.
On December 16, Robin Dowell died at the age of only 40 during a training trip in the escort boat on Lake Sarnen. It’s a shock for the Swiss rowing scene, where the Brit was well connected as a coach.
One of the athletes coached by Dowell is Jeannine Gmelin. The 32-year-old was also the life partner of the deceased. The stroke of fate hits the woman from Zurich with full force.
Gmelin with resuscitation attempts on the boat
Last Wednesday, Gmelin announced her immediate resignation. She couldn’t go on without Dowell. “It feels good to make the cut now,” said the rower.
In an interview with the “Sonntagszeitung”, Gmelin once again describes the drama that took place on Lake Sarnen and also tells how she now wants to continue.
The athlete herself is training on the water on December 16 when the tragic events take their course. During the exit she suddenly notices that Robin Dowell is not in his usual position in the support boat. “I quickly realized that something was wrong. I knew that I was putting myself in danger if I went into the water, because the water temperature was only about three degrees.” But with Gmelin, basic instinct takes over at this moment, as she says herself.
She jumps into the water from her rowing boat and swims to the motorboat. She immediately begins resuscitation, but her help should come too late. The autopsy later revealed no apparent medical reason other than drowning as a result. Dowell was an epileptic, but there is no evidence of this disease as a cause.
“It is finished. And irreparably finished»
The day on the water becomes a drastic experience for Gmelin. “After that, there was a feeling that something was done. And irreparably finished.» Gmelin doesn’t see it negatively that she had to witness the scenes on the boat. It helps her process the events. “Of course I wish I could have changed something about the situation. But I have no guilt that I did anything wrong in resuscitation.”
Jeannine Gmelin now wants to end her life as a professional athlete, as she explains to the “Sonntagszeitung”. Even if things didn’t always go well in sport, she had always remained positive in the past. “That’s also thanks to Robin,” says the one-world champion of 2017. She wants to pass this gift on to others in the future – probably in the form of coaching. «I want to support other people in their dreams. That would be my wish, I think it makes sense.” (cat)
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