Previously an avid soccer player, Smith took what he thought would be a quick break after he broke his foot during a match. Rowing would soon capture his heart. Smith said, “Rowing has been a special part of my father’s side of the family and my father found SRA online and suggested that I have a go at it. Initially I only treated rowing as a stand-in until my foot healed and then I thought I’d go back to soccer. But it was after I completed fall season of my novice year that I decided trying something new could be good for me, and it was the best decision I have ever made to this day.”
Smith embraced the rowing culture and became captain for the Experienced Men’s Team for the 2017/2018 season. The sport instilled confidence and discipline in Smith, but also had plenty of other benefits. He added, “I have nothing but amazing things to say about SRA and the community it has created for me. The friends and connections I have made during my time there cannot be matched by anything else. My experience as a rower for SRA couldn’t have been as great as it was without the coaches and teammates I worked with.” Even though he had nothing but amazing things to say about his team, that didn’t mean he always had perfect days.
One of the races he took part in turned out to be one of his favorite memories. In 2017 his teammates had their hearts set on winning regionals. They put up a good fight but didn’t quite have enough to win. The following year things had changed. Smith described being a part of a truly special boat. He said, “The trust that ran through that boat was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. To know that my teammates trusted my performance as much as I trusted theirs made our chemistry that much stronger. Sure enough, as race day came, we obliterated the grand final and became 2018 Northwest Regional Champions in the Varsity 8+. That memory is truly something special for me.”
Rowing benefitted Smith in many ways. He commented on how his fitness and overall well being improved from his involvement in the sport. Additionally, he feels special from his part in crew (rowing) culture that not many people are familiar with. Rowing tends to be a niche sport so being a part of a rowing team often makes an athlete feel unique. Although he also juggled band involvement starting in sixth grade, he quit to focus his time more on rowing since it became so important in his life.
As a dedicated student and athlete, it is clear Smith puts one hundred percent effort into his passions. Rowing gave him strong friendships and a fiery passion for athletics. He also loves returning to the boathouse to catch up with new and old rowers as well as offer his advice to younger rowers. Around Christmas break he rode in a launch with Coach Dennis Ferrer for an entire practice just to watch and support his old team. He made sure to add a message for SRA rowers, “reach out to me if you have any questions at all or if you simply want to catch up and talk. I’ll always look for an excuse to come down to SRA and see how the teams are doing. If those of you reading this have an interest in rowing or know someone who has an interest in rowing, I highly encourage you to start rowing and learn at SRA. There’s no better team for it.”