Jack And John Nunn Featured In Rolling Hills Living Magazine
From Rolling Hills Magazine February Issue 2016
Athletes Of The Month
For John Nunn, rowing has been more than a sport; it’s a life-long legacy he’s been able to share with his son. John was introduced to the sport of rowing 55 years ago at Cornell University. There he was fortunate enough to be coached by Harrison “Stork” Stanford, who was a teammate of Al Ulbrickson at the University Of Washington. Al Ulbrickson was later the head men’s varsity rowing coach at the University of Washington and was featured in the book, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The two both became good friends and rowing coaches at prestigious rowing universities such as the University of Washington, and Stork at Cornell.
John moved to California in 1966 to pursue his goal of making the United States Olympic Team. The Marine Stadium in Long Beach had been home of the 1932 Olympic Games, and the Long Beach Rowing Association was started with the equipment left behind after the 1932 Olympics. John has been rowing for the Long Beach Rowing Association ever since 1966. After winning the 1968 Olympic Trials in Long Beach, he competed in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, winning a bronze medal in the Double sculls event. In 1976 he was selected to be the U.S. Olympic Men’s Sculling Coach in Montreal, and his Quad made the finals. He has met many Olympic champions and coaches over the years. Sir Robert Redgrave was knighted by the Queen of England for winning Five consecutive Olympic Gold Medals in the sport of rowing.
And John stayed involved in the sport over the years in various capacities. He’s competed and coached on five continents. He continues to race to this day in the masters division. He coached college rowing for three years at USC in the seventies. Today he is a technical adviser to the Loyola Marymount University’s Men’s rowing program.
Some of the most fun he’s had has been competing in the same regatta with his son Jack. In 1998 they were the first father and son to win gold medals in the same Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships. Jack won with the University of California and John won in the Alumni Division with Cornell University. At the US Rowing Masters National Championships Jack and John won for seven years in the Father and Son Doubles Championships.
Jack has 20 years in rowing and 8 years in triathlon, and he was a member of the US National Rowing Team from 2001-2004. His favorite coach is Craig Amerkhanian, who is-ironically-currently with the Stanford University Men’s Rowing Team. If not for Craig, Jack probably would have quit rowing after his freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley. Craig coached Jack;s boat to the first ever undefeated rowing season at Cal Berkeley and went on to his first national championship win over the great and powerful rowers at the University of Washington.
Jack currently rows with a Masters group from Long Beach Rowing Association as well as a group of friends and fellow national teammates from Harvard University. He also coaches the Men’s Varsity Rowing Team at Loyola Marymount University in Marina Del Rey. He practices on the water in Long Beach Marine Stadium, but also runs a business called Roworx, which holds over 20 classes a week on the Concept 2 indoor rowing machine.
He has met many famous Olympians because his father John takes him to the events that involve the Southern California Olympians Association: Mark Spitz, Mary Lou Retton, Nadia Comaneci, Rafer Johnson, Natalie Coughlin, Steven Redgrave, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Natalie Coughlin, and many more.
With rowing, Jack has traveled to Henley, England; Linz, Austria; Tokyo, Japan; Sydney, Australia; Torino, Italy; St. Catherine’s, Canada; and all over the United States. Next year, in 2017, he’ll be going to the World Master’s Games in Auckland, New Zealand to compete in both rowing and triathlon/duathlon events. In Ironman events he has traveled to Nice, France; Florianopolis, Brazil; Cozumel, Mexico; Cairns, Australia; Mallorca, Spain; Cabo San Lucas; Kalmar, Sweden; and Vichy, France. He has participated in 9 International Full Ironman’s and 5 half 70.3 Ironman’s, and his awards include the Ironman All World Silver Medal Status Athlete 2015 (Top 5% of all Ironman Athletes Finishing Times), Ironman All World Athlete Bronze Medal Status 2014 (Top 10% of all Ironman Athletes Finishing Times), USA All American Triathlete 2014 and 2015, US Rowing Master’s Athlete Of The Year in 2013, Silver Medal At The World Rowing Championships in 2001, 4-time Pacific 10 Conference Champion 1998-2001, and 3-time National Champion 1998-1999 and 2001.
For Jack, his love for rowing isn’t just about the sport, but about the life lessons he gained. Rowing and triathlons taught him the true meaning of hard work, patience, and perseverance that will endure to the end. They also taught him the importance of working together: in rowing there are no egos, he explains, because you are only as strong as your weakest link in the team boats. If one guy is off on his stroke it will slow the whole boat, so everyone has together to go faster. He remembers his varsity coach Steve Gladstone explaining that if they part of the team to endure and enjoy the day-to-day competition and challenge to get faster, than they were there for the right reasons, because ‘races are not won on race day…they are won by the thousands of hours of practice and focus you put into training each and every day. The race will feel like just another practice.” John agrees, saying, “Rowing teaches importance of dedication, determination, persistence and goal orientation.”
And, according to John, Southern California is one of the best places in the world to row. “We have great weather, smooth water, beautiful facilities, expert coaching and Olympic equipment,” he explains. “Rowing can be fun and rewarding experience for anyone of any age.”