Blanchett Rows to Greatness


courtesy of Imgur

August Blanchett, Rowing

Tanner Jones, opinion editor

Junior August Blanchett has always been athletic. However it wasn’t until the fall of 2015, after four years of running cross country, that he found his true calling. “I think I might be a little too heavy for cross country and running that kind of volume was starting to do a number on my joints. So the fall of my sophomore year my friend introduced me to rowing,” said Blanchett.

The Twin Cities Youth Rowing Program was established in 2008 and is now home to 150 rowers. As soon as he was introduced to the program, Blanchett was captivated, “I like the people on the team. They’re all there to get better and everyone is supportive of each other,” he said. Additionally, for Blanchett, rowing felt like the right fit physically. “In the end I chose rowing over cross country because it’s a full body exercise that played into my height and aerobic ability from running,” he said.

A skier, snowboarder, runner, and former soccer player, Blanchett thinks rowing offers something special. “Rowing is different because it offers a unique mix of endurance and strength…it demands a lot of teamwork to row together,” he said. Teamwork and the community were things that stood out to Blanchett, who noted that he’s made many friends on the team from many different schools in the Twin Cities. This aspect sets rowing apart from other sports.

The rowing season is year-round and when the lakes are frozen over the team lines up on ergometers (rowing machines) and practices in a warehouse in industrial Edina. Practice is daily and workouts are strenuous, but when the rowers reach the regatta—or rowing competition—they’re prepared. TCYR has been very successful in recent years and boasts a strong alumni list, including students currently rowing at Division I and Ivy League schools.

Depending on the season, regattas can take different forms. “Competitions are different in the fall and spring. In the fall we race head races, which are staggered start time trials and are usually 5 kilometers. Spring races are called mass-starts and are 2ks with 3-8 boats racing,” Blanchett said.

Competition, and rowing in general, have taught Blanchett a lot about endurance. “I learned a lot about what it means to push yourself and I increased my pain tolerance. I also learned what it takes to improve and how improvement works,” he said. Skills like these, which TCYR are intent on teaching, serve rowers through college and beyond.

Despite Blanchett’s rowing prowess, he remains very modest. He did however shine some light on some of his personal achievements: “My greatest rowing accomplishment is probably breaking 6:30 on my 2k which I did about a month ago,” he said. When asked if he’d been scouted, Blanchett said, “I can’t talk about colleges until senior year because of NCAA rules.” Until he commits or is officially made an offer, Blanchett must remain silent.