Welcome to another episode of Meet the Crew! This week, we’re highlighting Hydrow Athlete Mac Evans.
How did you get into rowing?
I’ve played sports -- mainly basketball and volleyball -- for my whole life. I thought that I wanted to play one of these sports in college, but the recruiting process wasn’t going too well for me and I wasn’t all that interested in going to the schools that were interested in me. Rowing really wasn’t -- and still isn’t -- all that popular where I grew up in North Jersey, and I didn’t know much about the sport until my cousin walked onto the crew team at his school. My mum pushed me to consider applying to Rutgers University and my dad encouraged me to reach out to the rowing coach, and then a few months later, I committed to Rutgers for rowing, without even knowing how to row.
There is no way that I would have even thought about rowing at the Division 1 level without the support of my parents… they have always been my biggest fans (shoutout Mom and Dad)! While the sport itself was new to me, the team dynamic was very familiar, and felt so much like what I had experienced on various teams growing up.
Wow, that’s pretty crazy… so how did you learn how to row?
When I got to Rutgers, I spent a lot of time rowing on machines indoors before I even attempted to go out on the boat. I worked super hard on my form, while building the necessary strength and endurance. My first year at Rutgers was good -- there was definitely a learning curve, but I was on the novice team and with persistence and patience, I started to get the hang of it. By my sophomore year, I hit my stride, and moved up to the varsity team.
What is your proudest rowing moment?
Oh that’s easy -- during my senior season in the spring of 2019, my team got a bid to the NCAA Rowing Championships for the first time since 2001. This was the first time that the Rutgers Women’s Rowing team qualified for the NCAA tournament and reached a national ranking.
It was such an exhilarating weekend. Being surrounded by such talented athletes at the NCAA Rowing Championship was amazing. It was just so much fun to race against so many other competitive schools in the Rutgers varsity four boat. My boat placed tenth, and my team placed eleventh in the championships. It was awesome.
Since I just started rowing a few years ago, I didn’t feel ready to stop at graduation. I am still so new to the sport that I feel like I have more to give. So, when Hydrow reached out to my coach to ask if he had any athletes that would be interested in the role, I was immediately interested in exploring it.
I think Hydrow is a fantastic way to introduce rowing to people who wouldn’t otherwise have tried it -- either on an erg or on the water. I wish I had found rowing earlier in my life, as it has given me so much -- I hope that my work here at Hydrow will help others discover their own love for the sport.
What is it like being a member of the Hydrow team, particularly how it compares to being a member of a college rowing team?
In a lot of ways, it is very similar. Everyone is incredibly supportive and patient as I transition into a new type of rowing. Similar to when I entered Rutgers without knowing how to row, I joined Hydrow not knowing how to scull, which is the kind of rowing that we do here. I also love the startup aspect of Hydrow… I have always loved a good underdog story, especially coming off of one this past year at Rutgers, and it’s very exciting to be part of something so scrappy, while having to rise to the occasion and make things happen.
What does rowing mean to you?
In my eyes, rowing is all about the team. Even if you are in a single, the rowing community is so helpful and encouraging. It is hard to put into words, but it is so inspiring to share such a strong connection through a sport.
What is one thing that many people don’t know about you?
I absolutely love to dance… but that’s not uncommon… I actually used to do Irish Step Dancing at a competitive level. I competed for about eight years. The wig, the costume, the whole shebang.
What would you like to learn about our Hydrow Athletes? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.