For the Oregon State men’s rowing team, winning isn’t so much about speed as it is about not slowing down the boat. And to do that, rowers must achieve incredible synchronicity. They must row as a single, continuous unit, matching each other’s rhythm and stroke.
“What’s easily the most important thing is that we’re all together,” said Aidan Daly-Jensen, member of the men’s rowing team and electrical and computer engineering sophomore. “You can have eight rowers who are faster than another eight, but if the slower rowers are perfectly together, they are going to win every time.”
Daly-Jensen, along with six other College of Engineering students, understands the importance of teamwork and camaraderie all too well. Besides being on the men’s rowing team, they also share scholastic talent, having made the Pac-12 All-Academic team for maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA.
“They’re a lot of people who think that when you’re an athlete, you don’t do so well in academics. But it goes to show that you can,” said Daly-Jensen.
“The team is still learning the fine art of staying in synch, but we’ve improved,” said Daly-Jensen. This year, they placed 4th in the Pac-12 championships where the Varsity 4 and Freshmen 8 boats beat Stanford — Oregon State’s benchmark competitor. It was here that eight months of hard work boiled down to six-minute races.
The team then advanced to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships for the first time since 2010. They placed 17th overall. Given the initial disparity of the group at the start of the season — with many joining as walk-ons and some with no rowing experience — the team came together and had an impressive season.
“At our end-of-the-year meeting with the guys, everybody was very happy with the teamwork aspect,” said Head Coach Steve Todd. “We’re excited about making it back from the national championships this year, but we’re still hungry to do better next year.”
Daly-Jensen is also focused on improving his game — both in and out of the boat. School-wise, he’s building up his resume. He worked for Oregon State’s Technology Support Services, held an internship at Intel, and collaborated with Tektronix to create a next generation user interface for oscilloscopes.
As for rowing, his goal is simple.
“Next year we want to do better than we did this year. Just do better than 17th and continue improving.”
Blair Cox, sophomore in pre-mechanical engineering
Aidan Daly-Jensen, sophomore in pre-electrical and computer engineering
Taylor Heen, sophomore in pre-mechanical engineering
Nick Aerne, sophomore in pre-mechanical engineering
Donald Gannon, senior in civil engineering
Quinn Murray, sophomore in pre-mechanical engineering
Chad Swenson, senior in computer science
--Abby P. Metzger