College Opportunities: Chase Antonacci

Chase rowing with his teammates early in the morning.

We asked our alumni to answer three questions about their experience with TYRA. Rowing in college might not be for everyone, however, for some student-athletes, it’s the perfect ticket to continue a life-long passion for the sport and get a great education. We have had many student athletes graduate the program and attend universities and colleges such as MIT, Boston University, Yale, Gonzaga, The University of Tulsa, The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, The University of Central Oklahoma, University of Virginia, Southern Methodist University, The University of Kansas and Washington University to name a few.

Please describe any college opportunities that have occurred because of your time rowing with TYRA.

When I was looking at colleges, I didn’t actually intend to row; in fact, until I began my freshman year at WashU, I assumed playing a sport would distract from the primary focus – my coursework. Though I had emailed the head coach a couple of times over the prior summer for some information, it wasn’t until I began browsing for clubs to join that I actually considered rowing.

Something unique about the sport, I think, is that most people you find who row tend to driven – to be high achievers – both on the water and in other areas of life. Like at TYRA, the rowing team at WashU is a group of motivated student-athletes who challenge and support each other academically, athletically, and socially.

Though I was technically a ‘walk-on’ my freshman fall, rowing in college is one of the best decisions I made that year; in addition to a wonderful group of friends, the sport, like in high school, has given me an enthusiastic support network – a resource that’s only enhanced my academic life and become an invaluable part of my college experience.

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have this experience in high school too; I’m grateful for the supportive coaching staff at TYRA and the many friends I made during my three years with the team. Without them, I don’t think I would have found the rowing at WashU – an awesome community that, in many ways, has laid the foundation for my success in college.

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about trying the sport of rowing for the first time?

I would encourage anyone looking to try rowing to give it a shot – to experience what it’s like to be on the water. When you get the boat up to speed, moving efficiently and are just flying down the river – that’s really a unique experience that always leaves you wanting more.

Also, I might note that, especially in high school rowing, there’s a place for everyone – tall, short, you name it. It’s a sport where natural talent is less of a factor; if you’re willing to put in the work, you’re almost guaranteed to see reward – on the rowing machine, in the boat, and at the podium.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were involved with TYRA?

I remember Coach Hartwell described rowing as simply a “pain management game” – and it really is; rowing’s a challenging sport physically, but the athletes and coaches at TYRA have established such a motivating environment where you’re driven to dig deep and find the mental resolve to push past your limits, achieve your goals, and accomplish more than you thought possible for yourself.

TYRA is offering summer camps in the month of June for beginners to the sport. For more information on the upcoming camps, please click on the graphic below.

Tulsa Youth Rowing Association Summer Camps
Tulsa Youth Rowing Association Summer Camps