At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, two women’s sprint canoe events will make their debut. I am ranked second and first in the country for these events, but this weekend I will fly to Perth for a trial with the West Coast Eagles women’s AFL team.

Recently I was also invited to trial for the Brisbane Lions, National Rugby League draft and the Australian Bobsled team.

The question I often get is, why?

Why would I trial other sports if I’m a chance to go to an Olympic Games for Canoeing?

I dream of working in sport medicine and studying for that at Bond University certainly keeps me busy between training sessions. (It’s good, I’d probably over-train if I didn’t need to study so much. Studying keeps me stationary).

I’ve been C2 Australian champion every year since I began this sport, but I know people question my commitment to the sport when I trial for other codes. Believe me, I’m committed to sport.

It’s my focus every, single, day. I train as hard as I can and I push myself because I believe I have something to give to the world in this way.

I first got into canoeing thanks to the AIS Sport Draft.

The draft was designed to find athletes who demonstrated they had a certain physical and mental capacity and put them in a targeted sport for Tokyo 2020. After months of trialing and testing they picked me for my attributes and gave me a scholarship to pursue Canoe Sprint in 2015.

When I got involved in that, I had no idea where it would take me.

I packed up, left university on the Gold Coast and returned to Adelaide taking a gamble that I would earn a scholarship and be supported in pursuing a sport full-time.

Isabella Rositano exclusive insight 1

In 2016 I was selected in the first Australian women’s team to compete internationally and that was such a huge thrill. I wore a huge smile for most of that year.

It is so hard to describe how it felt. I don’t think I’ve felt happier than knowing my dream was to come true, I had worked so hard and finally something I had wished for for so long became reality.

But in the sport of canoeing, those opportunities are few and far between, it’s not like we have meetings every weekend the same way other codes do. There are only three national competitions throughout the year.

For me, I want to compete and do my absolute best at the highest level, that is what drives me.

The more I experience sport in all these different ways, seeing the NRLW and AFLW, I see more and more opportunity. I still want to go to an Olympics and that is obviously a huge goal. But I won’t peak as a canoeist probably until the 2024 or 2028 Olympics. I’m only 22.

Why can’t I do both?

I can understand my teammates and coaches and the perspectives of those in the canoeing community that think I’m not committed or motivated to the sport. Because they see me trying other sports.

But I believe just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done.

I see football and other sports helping me achieve my goals in the canoe and vice versa. I see it all as an opportunity to contribute to our sporting scape, that’s all I want to do. What do I need most on the water? A bit more stability, a bit more core power, a bit more aerobic capacity. I can get all of that from playing football.

For me, I believe the strength I have from canoeing transfers really well to football, and the aerobic and other demands of playing football can only help me become a better athlete on the water.

Isabella Rositano exclusive insight 2

It is possible to excel at two sports. It would be amiss not to look at our high achieving athletes such as Elyse Perry – playing cricket and soccer, Erin Phillips playing basketball and Australian rules, or recently Tia Toomey who won gold in the Commonwealth Games weightlifting along with her second Crossfit world title. One sport can help the other.

The trial in Perth, like the NRLW Draft is bringing together athletes from all different sports.

I’m really looking forward to being around great athletes from different backgrounds, learning off them and competing. It’s why I train so hard. I love competing, I live for it.

I really want to go over there and step onto Subiaco, that in itself is an unreal experience. For a footy fan growing up in Adelaide, it will be amazing just to get the opportunity to step out onto that ground.

I see every trial as an experience and as an opportunity. It is a great addition to training, as I no longer have the institute’s sport scientist to tell me how I am tracking, I can use the data and benchmarks supplied to see how I’m going!

In a way, this upcoming trial seems serendipitous – I won $200 betting on West Coast to beat Collingwood in the AFL Grand Final. That $200 will now go towards my flights to Perth and back.

It is a big trip over there. I have an exam on Monday so I plan to study on the plane and on the Friday, and I’ll be flying straight back Saturday night after the trial, arriving in the early morning ready for recovery and more study.

Who knows where it will all lead, but I won’t die wondering.