The last couple of seasons on the runway to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have been punctuated with amazing performances and international success for Yale Steinepreis, including taking home a silver medal in the K1 200m at the 2023 ICF Senior World Championships.
The outstanding individual achievement came after the 26-year old Australian had already had a taste of the World Championships podium the previous year, when the Aussie quartet of Steinepreis, Ella Beere, Ally Clarke and Aly Bull won a historical silver medal in the K4 500m in Dartmouth, Canada.
“It was shocking, to be honest,” Steinepreis confessed, talking about the team’s 2022 World Championships performance. “When we crossed the line, Ally Clarke and I just turned to each other and went like – what did just happen?!
“We were aiming to make the A Final, really, so to have that race was unbelievable. It was life-changing in a way and cool to be doing it with my best friends. As a crew, we felt like we deserved to be there and we proved that we deserve to be part of this program.”
Steinepreis has come a long way since she got involved with paddling at age 16. She first tried the sport thanks to her grandmother’s involvement in kayaking, joining Paddle Australia’s talent identification program and then the Bayswater Paddlesport Club.
“My grandma (Rosalie Evans) is also the Executive Officer of Paddle Western Australia, so we can just talk paddling all the time. She’s one of my biggest supporters, but probably one of my biggest critics as well, because she knows and understands the sport so well, being a paddler herself. She’s done much more impressive things than I have done and she’s a big support,” Steinepreis said.
Achieving a degree of self-confidence has been so crucial for Steinepreis’ success on the water that it’s now an important piece of advice she would give younger athletes, who might go through similar challenges in their paddling journey.
“You need to understand that every athlete is different. Just because someone can do something better than you, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have your own special things that make you a great athlete.
“I think you could see in our K4 last year that we are very different athletes, but Ella [Beere] and I can get the boat out really fast, and then the other girls bring us home. Each of us have our special thing in our boat.”
With only a few months until the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Steinepreis’ eyes are set on making the team for her Olympic debut. And yet, the secret of her success in racing might lie in the way she enjoys the daily training environment and the process of putting in the work to become a better athlete.
“Going to Paris would be unbelievable, but this journey has been what matters to me,” Steinepreis said.
“Getting to move to another State, experience what life is over here and travelling overseas, I think I’ve had a pretty good journey so far.
“I enjoy the daily commitment, waking up to hit goals. I enjoy working with my coach and the learnings that I get every day from him. And I just enjoy being with the girls, having fun and putting in some hard work around it.
“We’re competing against each other all the time and it’s so intense that when we go to Worlds or World Cups I feel like I am already in that environment on the daily. That’s where I think we’ve made such a step up, because when we go to these [international competitions] we have trained really hard and we only have to do exactly what we do in training.”
“And it’s a lot more fun than what people think!” she said.