See You In Sarasota: Meet The Men’s Eight

In just a few days the 2017 World Rowing Championships will take place in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

Meet the nine men that will be representing the United States as they race in the men’s eight. (c) Julian VenonskyPatrick Eble, Andrew ReedNick MeadTom PeszekJordan VanderstoepAlex KarwoskiYohann Rigogneand Dariush “Tim” Aghai will set out later this week to the waters of Nathan Benderson Park for competition.

Fast facts

  • Nick Mead is a three-time Fairmount-UBC Chili Challenge Champion.
  • Andrew Reed can juggle.
  • Yohann Rigogne’s daughter was born just a few days before he was officially named to the men’s eight.
  • Tom Peszek represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games.
  • Alex Karwoski is the youngest of four kids.
  • Patrick Eble rowed in the Boat Race for Cambridge in 2017.
  • Dariush “Tim” Aghai was named the “King of Wings” in 2012.
  • Jordan Vanderstoep while in high school finished 2nd in California state MTB championship.
  • Coxswain Julian Venonsky collects contemporary art.

Follow these men throughout their journey: @julianvenonsky, @patrickeble, @thatsreediculous, @tompeszek, @ovostoop, @yrigogne1980, and @whataghai

Who inspires you and why?

Reed: Steve Prefontaine because of the passion he brought to running.

Rigogne: All the guys on the USA national team and the training center. Putting their social life aside to train so hard is remarkable.

Peszek: John Parker, for believing in me back in 2009.

Karwoski: Teammates and parents. They have always been there to support, but also push me.

Eble: My coach at Cambridge, Steve Trapmore, because he taught me how to be a true gassman and race at an elite level.

Vanderstoep: Greg Minnaar, for achieving sporting excellence while hailing from my parent’s home country of South Africa.

Venonsky: My sister, Lea – she has always taught me that I could achieve anything I put my mind to and work hard for.

What is your favorite rowing memory?

Mead: In 2015, winning Princeton’s first varsity IRA medal since 2006.

Rigogne: Racing with Tom Peszek at the Olympic Trials last year and getting a really fast race.

Peszek: Winning a three-way race over Virginia and Trinity back in 2007 – Go Blue!

Karwoski: 2015 Head of the Charles Champ 4+ Keith Rush crushed that race. Always remember.

Vanderstoep: Winning the 2014 Ladies’ Plate over Leander by three feet.

Venonsky: Winning the Ladies’ Plate by three feet at the 2014 Henley Royal Regatta.

In what ways has rowing helped you in your life, outside of the boat?

Mead: It taught me a valuable work ethic.

Reed: It has taught me to work hard and be persistent.

Rigogne: Rowing gave me a lot of structure in my life. Also got me stronger and more persistent on achieving my goals.

Karwoski: My ability to stay focused on long-term goals.

Aghai: More vascular.

Vanderstoep: That you can’t control anyone or anything else but yourself. It’s up to me to work my hardest to achieve what I want to achieve.

Venonsky: That you can’t control anyone or anything else but yourself. It’s up to me to work my hardest to achieve what I want to achieve.

If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

Mead: A bear so that I could hibernate through winter.

Reed: A dog, because they have a great time

Rigogne: A gazelle with my long legs.

Eble: A gorilla, because they are beasts.

Aghai: An octopus – many limbs.

Vanderstoep: A dolphin, because they have the most fun.

Venonsky: A penguin; then I wouldn’t be so cold all the time.

What are you known for on the team?

Rigogne: Being the oldest one.

Peszek: Being old, but not as old as Yohann.

If you were stranded in the desert, who would you choose in your boat to be stranded with?

Reed: Jordan, because he’s pretty laid back.

Peszek: Yohann – he could engineer a Gilligan’s Island setup.

Eble: Tim Aghai because he’s hilarious and reportedly a highly-rated tree climber.

Venonsky: Jordan because I know if we just sat there in silence, it would still be fun.

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