Van Egmond to attend UW on crew scholarship
Eleanor Yarkin, Reporter
Towering above the crowd at six feet three inches tall, Connor van Egmond’s presence in a room is hard to ignore. On the water he is no different: van Egmond has excelled at crew, making him stand out in the rowing community.
Van Egmond began rowing in 2013 and plans to attend the University of Washington (UW) in the fall of 2019 — along with fellow senior Rohin Petram — on a crew scholarship. Petram currently rows for Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC) and is excited to row alongside van Egmond.
“In the time that we have rowed for different teams, [van Egmond] and I have grown as rowers,” Petram said. “To come back together after two years will be the crossover episode of the century.”
UW is ranked among the top rowing programs in the United States; six members of the Under-23 men’s eight team that won gold in the World Rowing Championships last year were UW rowers.
“I was surprised [that they offered me a scholarship] because this is one of the best teams in the world recruiting me, and it was wild, thinking of rowing for them,” van Egmond said.
Van Egmond is excited to be part of the team culture that has developed over the course of the UW’s long tradition of rowing.
“[I want] to form a bond with a group of brothers that row and get a good education,” van Egmond said.
While at UW, van Egmond plans to study architecture and design. However, he predicts it will not be easy to balance completing a competitive major while participating in D1 athletics.
“I am nervous about it, but the UW has a lot of support for athletes,” van Egmond said.
With college in mind, van Egmond started rowing the summer before his eighth-grade year. After racing with VIRC for three years, he transferred to Seattle Rowing Center (SRC) in order to row more competitively on both a local and national scale.
“Vashon rowing… wasn’t challenging me enough, and I wasn’t pushed,” van Egmond said. “Changing to SRC was also to better to prepare myself for college rowing.”
However, joining SRC did not come without challenges. Practice at SRC takes place Monday through Saturday for two to three hours a day on top of commuting times. With crew taking up much of his time, van Egmond has had difficulty juggling his academic work with rowing.
“I spend more time working on rowing than I do school,” van Egmond said. “My grades have taken a toll for that.”
Leaving VIRC was also difficult socially.
“It alienated me from a lot of my friends, I didn’t tell them that I was switching [to SRC] because I didn’t know how they would react,” van Egmond said.
Last year, van Egmond rowed in the SRC men’s varsity quad alongside Malcolm Shure and won the Northwest Youth Championships before finishing eighth at the National Championships. Shure rowed at SRC for five years and is currently a member of the Cornell University Lightweight team.
“Connor benefits from being an extremely powerful and physical rower who has a passion for the sport,” Shure said.
Placing well at regattas is common for SRC boats, which often come in first or second.
SRC focuses on perfecting technique and raising their athletes to prioritize physical fitness. They also cultivate self-motivation, discipline, and leadership among their athletes in hopes to make them strong national and international competitors.
“Seattle Rowing Center is a high-intensity environment every single day, no matter the time of year,” Shure said. “Coaches are instructed to put the athletes in uncomfortable situations where they must adapt and push forward.”
Over the summer, van Egmond was invited to the Under-19 selection camp for the national team and narrowly missed being selected.
By pushing himself to improve his rowing, Van Egmond has found that being physically challenged has been beneficial to him, and he is excited to continue rowing after high school.
“[Doing crew] has developed a good work ethic and [helped me step up to] be a leader.”