Welcome to another episode of Meet the Crew! Next up: Hydrow Athlete Nick Karwoski. A former U.S. National Triathlon Team member, Nick’s lifelong love of endurance sports and fitness make him the ultimate workout partner.
How did you get into rowing?
I was first introduced to rowing in high school. I was always a runner, and the absence of a track program from my high school pushed me towards rowing - an endurance sport that was team-focused. Coming from a running background, it was a completely foreign concept to move in perfect sync with my teammates, and I was fascinated.
What’s been your proudest rowing moment?
I think I’m most proud of how quickly I was able to get back into the boat after I flipped it for the first time. I was already frustrated that I was in the water, and then I saw an ocean creature moving within feet of me. I consider myself a pretty fast guy, but I don’t think that I have ever moved faster than in that moment. Turns out that the sea creature was a sea lion… so I wasn’t in any immediate danger, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
What does someone stand to gain from incorporating rowing into a fitness routine?
A lot of people have the misconception that rowing is all about arm strength, but in reality, it’s a full-body workout that engages 86% of the body’s muscles. The combination of strength training, cardio, and mental engagement makes rowing incredibly challenging, but effective. Because it’s driven by form, rhythm, and technique, rowing is absolutely a mental workout as much as a physical one. It keeps you centered, focused and stimulates your mind, keeping you aware of any inefficiencies or weaknesses in your muscles. When I was training with the U.S. National Triathlon Team, I often used rowing as a method of cross training, since it combined all of the muscle groups needed to excel in running, swimming, and biking. The mental clarity and sharpness provided was an equally important part of my training during that time, too.
What sets Hydrow apart from other teams that you have been on?
Being a member of the team here at Hydrow is a unique experience because in a way, it mimics the way that crews succeed. Our team -- the Experience team, which includes all of the Athletes and production crew -- has to coordinate and work in sync to produce good content and workouts. Each team at Hydrow has to maintain clear lines of communication so that we are all able to achieve the level of synchronicity we need for our overall success. At Hydrow, we are all in the same boat, but instead of hitting the same rhythm or splits, our different roles help to propel the boat forward.
What is your routine the night before a big race?
My pre-race ritual is pretty simple. A big carb-heavy meal of spaghetti and meatballs, lots of water, maybe a glass of red wine, all while watching one of my favorite movies, Hot Rod. I try to stay as relaxed as possible and focus on having fun. I always perform my best when I am having fun.
Why the funky socks?
There are not many ways to accessorize in rowing. You’re usually either freezing or dripping sweat -- really no in between. Because of this, layers are key, but unfortunately it takes away most opportunities to add any trace of personality in your clothes. But you can always showcase your socks, no matter how many layers you have on. My funky sock persona was actually inadvertent -- I ran out of clean socks one day and had to wear dress socks to training. People picked up on it right away and loved it, so I stuck with it and now it’s my thing. What would you like to learn about our Hydrow Athletes? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.