Carlos Dinares TIP # 438: Building a ROWING PROGRAM to teach EXCELLENCE

Winning races is something that somebody always do. Every race has a winner. Winning a race is not the ultimate goal for me but the process who gets you there to achieve your best. The difficult moments and the struggles are the ones that make you stronger and comeback for more. Rowing is a tool to teach great skills to educate young people to work hard and fight to achieve their dreams. Nothing great is achieved without hard moments. The key is to never give up, no matter how hard it gets because if you really want it and work for it, no matter what happens, you will always win your race, the race of your life, to be proud of who you are and how hard you have worked to achieve your dreams with passion and hard work.

All that is simple to say but impressive to see and experience.
I remember my first day at the University of Washington back in 2006. It has been over 6 years and there is only one reason why I love this program and everything about it. Not that they win races, not that they are the Huskies or have been there for hundred of years….

I comeback to them everyday I can because they inspire me with their hard work, passion and believe. This Team makes me believe that our Sport is the ultimate sport to educate young students to become great people. University of washington is doing that to perfection and I’m so proud of them. Excellence, hard work, Team work, being humble and working the hardest you can to become the best you can be.
I’m so proud of having the chance to be part of them!

Winning is secondary, because for me everyone of this program has already won by doing what they are doing!
Thank you Huskies for giving me the chance to be part of this amazing program!

Rower Rob Munn, just like UW program, just keeps coming
In losing, UW captain Rob Munn learned valuable lesson that defines the program he rows for.

By Jerry Brewer
Seattle Times staff columnist

Rob Munn, of Redmond, has sights on ’16 Olympics.

Rob Munn can set the scene of his past disappointment like a novelist. It was a cloudy Saturday morning a year ago. The dynastic Washington rowing program was on the water, doing what it does best — competing.

Men’s coach Michael Callahan instructed his athletes to do a series of race simulations, which they call “pieces.” And on this cloudy Saturday morning, as the Huskies continued their never-ending quest to make their storied varsity eight boat go faster, Munn lost his spot to a good friend and teammate, Ty Otto.

Until then, Munn had spent the entire 2011 season in that varsity eight boat, helping the Huskies win the historic 100th dual meet with California, the Pac-10 championships and the Windermere Cup. He always influences winning. As a freshman in 2009, he rowed with a dominant, undefeated freshman eight that captured gold at the IRA national championships. As a sophomore in the junior-varsity eight, he was part of an undefeated group again. In fact, he has never lost an official race while wearing the “W” on his chest. But on that cloudy Saturday morning during his junior year, a rare defeat, even in practice, turned into a painful one. He lost his spot in the final days of preparation for the national championship.

Otto simply made the boat go faster, and in rowing, it’s always about the boat. Your résumé means nothing in crew. It’s the cruel part of this faceless sport, but it also reflects beauty of competition at its purest.

“He got me that day,” Munn said of Otto. “The depth of the program is so strong. Every practice is competitive. Nothing is a given. It sucks when you lose out, but you realize that’s a part of this sport. You keep your head up and try to get better.”

Munn didn’t mope. He went on to help the JV eight win gold again, and the Huskies earned a record fifth consecutive Ten Eyck Championship, which goes to the best overall program. But the varsity eight decides the true national champion in men’s rowing, and while the Huskies won that for the 14th time last June, Munn was left to cheer on dry land.

But here’s why we’re highlighting Munn now, and it captures the spirit of sport: The competition has only made him better. He didn’t stay disappointed. He got faster. And stronger. And smoother.

Now, as a senior, Munn is team captain. He was mostly in the three seat during his time with the varsity eight last year; now he’s the bow. Callahan believes he’ll compete in the 2016 Olympics if he stays committed.

How ridiculously talented is this Husky program? Future Olympians aren’t guaranteed anything.

Munn went to Amsterdam last summer and became an under-23 world champion. He was part of an eight that included Otto and Washington junior Alex Bunkers.

During this college season, Callahan raves that Munn, who is from Redmond, has posted better results every time the coaches have tested him. He’s the strongest guy on this team, and also a more fluid rower.

“I thought he handled the situation last year better than anyone could,” Callahan said. “He was a really strong teammate in that moment. All he does is win races. It’s impossible for such a disappointment not to affect you, but now it’s his turn. This is his time.”

The Huskies, who will compete in the Windermere Cup on Saturday, are again the top-ranked men’s crew in the nation.

The UW men’s varsity eight is a quirky group — smaller rowers in the middle, bigger ones in the bow. The Huskies beat Cal by 10 seconds over 2,000 meters last week. Only three rowers in the eight are holdovers from last year’s Windermere Cup-winning crew.

“It’s a really easy team to coach,” Callahan said. “It’s a fun team to coach. They’re starting to flow together, but we’re not taking anything for granted. We have to respect the process every day.”

No one respects the process more than Munn. In high school, he twisted his ankle days before he was supposed to go to Austria to compete with the under-18 team. He couldn’t make the trip, but he was unbowed.

“Nothing ever affects him,” Callahan said. “He just keeps coming.”

Said Munn: “This sport teaches you to handle pressure, take care of business and always be a performer. I heard Robert Griffin III say, ‘No pressure, no diamonds.’ Pressure helps create the diamonds. That’s how I see it, too. And you know everyone else on this team, they’ve been through the same thing.”

That attitude defines many great Husky oarsmen. It is Munn’s time now.

No cloudy Saturday mornings this year.

Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or jbrewer@seattletimes.com

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