For the past four years, Andrew Cummings (SEA ’12) has been a valuable, hard-working member of Pittsburgh Allderdice Crew and has won the accolades to show for it. After learning of Andrew’s recent bronze at Head of the Ohio, the Pittsburgh regatta which hosts over 2,000 rowers each year, SEAWolf was anxious to chat with the high school senior about his rowing experiences and success.
This season, Andrew has raced in quads (a boat with four rowers and a coxswain), eights (eight rowers and a coxswain), and a single (where the rower is alone). Rowing has been described as “the ultimate team sport,” requiring complete synchronization and physical awareness from all members of the crew. Sculling a single, however, demands additional skills: “The biggest difference for me was that, for the first time, I was alone on the water. It’s easier to determine what you are doing wrong and how you can correct it. You are rowing for yourself, not the rest of the boat, so it requires higher concentration.”
To prepare for races in any of the boats, Andrew and his teammates dedicate at least two hours of every day to practicing, getting to the boathouse by 5am before school and 9am during weekends, and rowing indoors on erg machines during the winter months. Despite the intensity of hard, early practices and an almost year-round season, Andrew said rowing is worth the pain: “Rowing is worth it for me because it gives me a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that I have not experienced anywhere else. I enjoy working as team to get faster as a crew. To be on a crew that has pushed the limits of where our school has gone in rowing is very exhilarating. The success of older rowers has motivated me to push myself to reach, and maybe even surpass, their successes.”
Last year, Andrew and his crew concluded an award-winning season by qualifying for the National Championships in New Jersey, an achievement that Andrew recalls as his fondest rowing memory and a hallmark of his rowing legacy. “I find younger rowers looking up to me, as more than half of our team is composed of either first year or second year rowers. I say that they should try their hardest, persevere and to stick with their crew, through thick and thin: ‘pain is temporary, pride is forever’.” Andrew’s rowing career will continue after he leaves Allderdice, as he is considering rowing for Boston University, Cornell, or Syracuse, or joining a club crew in college.
The rowing season has only just begun for Andrew and other scholastic rowers. This spring, regional teams will compete in the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship to qualify for the National Championship races. We hope to see to see Andrew and his Taylor Allderdice teammates qualify again to compete with high schools from around the country at the fantastic competition