Rowing Intrests A Boatload Of Colleges

As I look back in my athletic career it’s funny sometimes to see what my life would be like without the sport of rowing. It was not hard getting involved in sports when your father is an Olympic medalist. My father, John Nunn, was an Olympic Bronze Medalist in Rowing in 1968 and an Olympic Rowing Coach in 1976. He always told me that I had to be involved in something whether it was work or sports outside of school in order to stay active, more well-rounded, and ‘out of trouble.’ Both of my grandfathers were pro football football players, however my father always leaned towards non-impact sports because he valued the thought of mobility at an older age. However, I did grow up playing Ice Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, Tennis, and skiing during every christmas which all involve some sort of impact on the joints. My rowing career started relatively late compared with most other elite rowers. As a junior in high school at the age of 16 I came home one day from winter break out of Mary Star H.S. in San Pedro and told my father that I was not having fun playing soccer or baseball and wanted to quit. My father was sitting in the kitchen when I told him this and was fine with the decision however he said “You have to either find a job or something else that I wanted to do for a sport or activity.” I asked him about the junior rowing program in Long Beach and he literally jumped out of the chair he was sitting in and said he would make the necessary call to the coaches to get me started and the rest is history. It was the most excited I had ever seen my father get about something that I was interested in. The Concept 2 rowing machine was a huge catalyst for my rowing career and showed college coaches that I was in good shape and had great muscle endurance and mental concentration for a non-experienced rower. Within 16 months I was recruited to participate in the Junior National Rowing Team Selection Camp in 1997. I got cut within 2 weeks of the camp but came home to get in some good training and went on my way to go undefeated throughout my 1st year on UC Berkeley’s 1st Undefeated National Championship Season in 100 years in 1998. I rowed alongside teammates and future Olympians Jake Wetzel, Nito Simonsen, and Luke Walton. Then I repeated another Undefeated Season in 1999 only to lose in the finals and come 2nd to Cambridge University at the Henley Royal Regatta in Henley, England. Rowing has gotten me into and through college at Berkeley, to England, Austria, Japan, Canada, Australia, Germany, and all over the U.S.- all kinds of opportunities! I feel like I owe the sport of rowing something back and that is why I am soon opening (December 2012) up a fitness package training deal with Roworx for all levels of athletic ability. It will be called the ‘Roworx Effect Program’ and will feature all the classes that Roworx has to offer plus more… A detailed nutrition transformation with whole food based diet plans (This plant-based food diet is included with this program) and unlimited personal coaching through emails and phone conversations via Jack Nunn! If you are a high-school student this also applies to you as well however with the benefits of my father and I reaching out to college coaches for you and establishing contact with those coaches for better chances of college recruitment. Since I have rowed with many current college coaches and have been personally coached by 5 of the 12 best U.S. college coaches in the history of rowing in North America according to Rowing News Magazine I would be able to have an extreme edge while being able to communicate with most of the coaches from around the country. I guarantee If I don’t know them my father will! 🙂

To give you an amazing example of what my experience was getting into Cal Berkeley I came across an article in the L.A. Times sports section the other day about a High School athlete who also took up rowing relatively late in her athletic career. She is now being offered numerous scholarships from various prestigious Universities from around the country based on her 2,000 meter Concept 2 rowing machine score. I was very emotional when I read this article because the same exact story happened to me as well when I was in High School trying to find out what I was going to do and which college I would eventually attend.

Bridget Leire is rowing towards a scholarship. The senior at Thousand Oaks La Reina has offers from colleges including USC, UCLA and Princeton in a sport that presents physical and mental challenges — and in which her school doesn’t compete.

L.A. Times Article On October 28, 2011| By Eric Sondheimer


One of the most highly recruited athletes in Ventura County doesn’t even play high school sports. Bridget Leire, a 5-foot-10 senior at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, is one of the top female rowing prospects on the West Coast. She gave up swimming as a sophomore, joined a club rowing program at Lake Casitas and faster than you can say, “Blades down,” she found a sport to become passionate about. “There’s an energy you feel when you’re in a boat with other people,” Leire said. “I loved how you’re working for a common goal to move a boat, to make it go faster and to win.” Seven minutes 20 seconds. That’s the magic time that a female athlete needs to achieve on a rowing machine to receive a college scholarship. It’s the strangest thing, relying on a machine known as a CONCEPT 2 Ergometer that measures the amount of work performed while pulling a lever. A football coach doesn’t offer a scholarship simply because someone runs a certain 40-yard time. A basketball coach doesn’t offer a scholarship because someone can dunk. A baseball coach doesn’t offer a scholarship because of how far someone can hit a baseball. But in rowing, when an athlete records a time of 7:20 for 2,000 meters and word spreads among college recruiters, “It’s as close to a ticket as possible,” said Zohar Abramovitz, who coaches Leire at the Marina Aquatic Center in Marina del Rey. Last June, Leire reached 7:18 on the ergometer, and she immediately became a much-in-demand rowing prospect. A scholarship in excess of $100,000 is what’s being offered to get her to sign a letter of intent on Nov. 9. USC, UCLA and Princeton are the finalists. “I can’t believe this is actually happening,” Leire said. Last week, Leire was part of a team from Marina Aquatic that traveled to Boston and finished second out of 75 boats in the Youth Fours women’s category at the Head of the Charles Regatta. Rowing has become a big deal for football schools looking to add female athletes and stay in compliance with Title IX guidelines. Seven schools in the Pac-12 have rowing programs. There are only two high schools in California that compete in rowing, and both are in the Bay Area: Berkeley High and San Francisco St. Ignatius College Prep. In Southern California, athletes join club programs to compete and train in rowing. Marina Aquatic has 120 boys and girls enrolled in its varsity program for freshmen through seniors. As for why Leire projects as a top prospect in rowing, Abramovitz said, “It fits her personality. She’s a worker, and rowing is a working sport. It’s not so much a talent sport the way maybe basketball is. In rowing, it’s about how much you are willing to put into it, how much work you are able to do, and she seems to be very much suited for that.” Rowing is a true team sport. Just because one or two individuals might be fabulous doesn’t mean that a boat with eight rowers will win. “You’re only as good as the sum of your parts,” Abramovitz said.Exhaustion and pain can be felt as rowers try to endure the physical and mental challenges, but that’s one of Leire’s strengths. She keeps her composure and has learned to overcome the question “Can I do it?” when the going gets tough. “When you’re on the water and in a race, you have the same interior monologue, and if you go through it every single day and conquer that doubt in your mind, then you’re much more likely to do it during a race,” she said.
Here is an amazing video interview with Rob Waddel, the fastest man in the world on the Concept 2 rowing machine with a blazing time of 5:36 on a 2,000 meter race and an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 2000 Olympic Games in the Single Sculls. He is one of the most idolized rowers in the world and I also look up to him as one of the most amazing athletes I have EVER met besides my father of course. He was also a ‘grinder’ in the Americas Cup Sailing Races in between training for the Olympics in 2002-2006! If you have 20 min to listen to this amazing interview… take the time and I guarantee you will learn some valuable life lessons from this man!

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Jack Nunn

Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.

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