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  • Stanford Rowing

Values and Success which Contribute to the Stanford Community

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Stanford varsity rowing was a formative experience for me and my teammates which has enabled us to give back to our community. I would like to share two specific vectors:

1. Contributing to the communal values of dependability and teamwork that are essential to the Stanford varsity rowing community, the larger Stanford athletic community, Stanford academic student body, and our society.

The opportunity to row for Stanford men’s crew at the varsity level endowed my teammates and I with a deep sense of dependability and teamwork. On a rowing team, much like in a team for a group project in college or in a profession, each person has to do their job to ensure the success of others. The varsity rowing season requires this process to be done over and over again with each stroke, for several hours each day, for nine months of the year. The level of varsity national competition is important because it heightens the commitment of each athlete to this process. Beyond our practices, rowers take these values into the larger communities at Stanford and beyond:

  • First, within the Stanford varsity rowing community, each team’s success is dependent on the culture of hardwork that is endowed in the department. If one looks across the top collegiate rowing programs, the top performing schools have both strong men’s programs and strong women’s programs.

  • Within the Athletics department, each member of Stanford Athletics contributes to the ethics which have led Stanford to its streak of Directors’ Cups and national championships. Rowers are known within the athletics department for our strong commitment to the sport and setting the tone with the early practices and long workouts.

  • Stanford’s academic culture is built on collaboration and teamwork. Stanford rowing prepares undergrads to contribute to this ethos to the fullest and vice versa.

  • Finally, our greater modern society depends on working with others to magnify one’s positive impact. Rowers have a deep understanding of this truth, and it partially explains the enduring success of a sport which founded intercollegiate athletics over 150 years ago.

2. Opportunity to represent Stanford at the highest levels of competition

Stanford rowers have a long tradition of competing at the highest levels of the sport and representing our university. Each rower has in some ways contributed to and some ways benefitted from the past accomplishments of those on the team since its founding in the early 20th century. For the better part of the 21st century, Stanford varsity men’s rowing has sent rowers each summer to compete for the United States at the World Championships in various age classes. International rowing is a longstanding tradition. In 2015, when I was a sophomore on the team we attended the funeral of Stanford rower Richard Draeger who was an Olympic bronze medalist in Rome in 1960. It was inspiring to hear about his contributions to our university and California at large in his career with PG&E after rowing. I am proud of my teammates for contributing to this legacy of representing Stanford at the highest level, and I hope the same opportunity exists for future Stanford varsity men, varsity women and varsity lightweight women rowers in the future.

- Will Spencer, Stanford Rowing Class of 2018, IRA National Championship Medalist 2015, U23 World Rowing Championships Competitor 2015

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