By Michael Moroney ’13
Matt Nelson ’12 started rowing for the Brophy crew team only two years ago, but in that time he has blossomed into one of the top rowers on the squad and his love for the sport continues to grow.
“I really enjoy going to practice and getting away from all the stress of college applications and homework,” Nelson said. “When I am out on Tempe Town Lake, I am completely relaxed and think about nothing but my technique.”
After competing on the varsity team in his junior year, Nelson is now one of the top two rowers in the entire Brophy program, according to personal record’s for each rower. Sean McMahon ’13 and Nelson have been battling for the top spot all year.
Nelson currently has a personal record of 6:59.6. PRs are usually determined by racing on rowing machines for 2,000 meters.
“Matt is always trying to improve, whether it is in the weight room or on the water,” said teammate Bill Bloebaum ’13. “He is a really dedicate member of the team, as shown by his impressive PR.”
In order to stay in physical condition, Nelson has to spend a lot of time in the weight room, working out his entire body.
“Rowing is a full body workout,” he said. “Something that most people do not know about rowing is that it is almost 70 percent legs.”
He also puts in the necessary work with the rest of the Brophy team, especially at Tempe Town Lake, where the team practices. The crew team rows together every Tuesday and Thursday after school from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Nelson often rows with just one other rower in the boat. Sometimes, he rows as part of a Quad, with three others in the boat, or part of an Eight, with seven others in the boat.
At last year’s most important regatta, Southwest Junior Regionals, Nelson raced with McMahon and Wade Hoyt ’12. Also, he raced as part of a Quad at the Head of the Charles in Boston with McMahon, Ben Crozier ’14 and Cole Garcia ’13.
“He’s a great teammate and he works well with his teammate because he wants to win,” Bloebaum said.
Crew has taken Nelson all over the country, including to California, Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont.
“We only have around five other teams that we compete against, which leads us to travel around the country to find competition,” he said. “The majority of the traveling we do is to California, but I really enjoy going to different parts of the country and even out of the country.”
Nelson hopes to be involved in crew in some capacity once he graduates from high school whether it is rowing in college or coaching in the future.
“My dream is to row at the U.S. Naval Academy,” Nelson said. “I will definitely continue my passion for rowing in some form beyond high school.”