Our Squad

Maike Diekmann

Maike Diekmann

Namibian Rower

  • Age: 22
  • Club: Rhodes University Rowing Club
  • Height: 175cm
  • Hometown: Otjiwarongo, Namibia
  • Occupation: Student, 2017 Graduate of B.Sc. Honours in Geology
  • Rowing Standard: World Championship Rower
  • K18 Goal: Raise awareness for conservation and poaching issues in Southern Africa
  • 3 skills you bring to the expedition: Practical, outdoor person, quick to improvise
  • Biggest fear of the expedition: Hippos and crocodiles

My Background

I grew up on a farm in Namibia and spend most of my childhood time doing things such as horse and motorbike riding in the bush, camping trips across the country, mountain climbing, adventuring around the farm. I feel so lucky to have grown up like this, appreciating a simple life close to nature, far away from big cities and too many people. I have always loved being active and was involved in many different sports from a young age. After finishing school in Namibia, I started my University career in South Africa at Rhodes University. I started rowing only in my third year of university in 2015 and have a come a long way since then. I represented Namibia at the U-23 World Championships 2016 in the Netherlands and my future goal with rowing is to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

Why I’m coming to K18

I have always had an interest in the wildlife of southern Africa, as I grew up so close myself to nature and its wild animals. I am very excited to be rowing through an area in Zambia that has so much to offer regarding their wildlife. I am also looking forward to meeting a few of the active conservationist that are involved in Zambia, and hearing their stories as well as learning new things about the wildlife there. The exploration trip is important to me because I want to meet new people, see new places, and learn new skills. Most importantly, I hope to raise awareness about these beautiful and untouched places in the world that provide a home for some of the most unique animal and bird species! I look forward to this amazing experience, as I feel like reconnecting to nature a bit more again, raising awareness about conservation and poaching while going on an adventure.

What you’re worried about

I wouldn’t lie, I am quite worried about the fact that we are rowing 900km on waters that are home to a huge number of crocodiles as well as hippos! I have a major respect for these animals, especially knowing that hippos are the most dangerous It’s always good to be aware of the dangers, but I completely back our team and that they are ready for any emergencies that might occur.

our squad

Zoe De Toledo
Zoë De Toledo

Olympic Silver Medallist
European Rowing Championships Gold Medallist

Mouse Thornycroft
Micheen (Mouse) Thornycroft

2 time Zimbabwean Olympic Rower
2017 Filippi Spirit Award Winner

Desmond Nanchengwa

Top Single Male Sculler In Zambia
Competed In 3 World Championship Events

See the whole squad

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