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From Coaching to Coach In
August 16, 2012
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria – Nick D’Antoni is certainly in shape. He rows a single and races with his friends back home in Orange County, California in a group called the “The Little Knights.”
They’re not actually a boat club, or even row from a boat club. “We’re just a group of friends that throw boats together and try to race,” he said. “It’s not a boat club and there’s a bar involved.”
D’Antoni came to Plovdiv to coach the junior men’s four in the 2012 World Rowing Senior and Junior Championships. He didn’t come as an athlete and didn’t expect to be one.
Until this morning, that is, when Nick Dawe, a member of the lightweight senior men’s eight came down with a stomach ailment and was ruled medically incapable of racing. So it was either scratch the crew or enslave D’Antoni, according to coach Bruce Smith.
“I needed someone who would still be conscious at the 1250 and Nick is a very good athlete.” D’Antoni rowed in eights before, Smith said.
But that was in college, and at 30-years-old, it’s been a while. But the need was there and in went coach Nick.
D’Antoni was in four-seat for the five-boat repechage with coxswain Eric Rhiel (Menomonie, Wis.), Phil Grisdela (Great Falls, Va.), Ryan Fox (Edgerton, Wis.) Anders Corbett (Staten Island, N.Y.), Martin Forde (Mill Creek Wash.), Will Robins (Chappaqua, N.Y.), Sean McKenna (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Andrew Hashway (West Boylston, Mass.) when they finished last and will now row in the Sunday B final.
“When I first heard the news, I stood in the middle of the lunchroom for about five minutes not sure what I was supposed to do. I thought it was part of a joke. But then I started thinking well, if the joke pans out to have some truth in it I just want to make sure I do the best I can to help out the boat and the team.
“I’m happy to help out,” he said. “I’m just keeping the seat warm for the other Nick.”
For complete event coverage, schedules and results, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Pressbox/12SrJrWorldsChampions.aspx.
Ed Moran, photos by Ed Moran