Mark Davis & George Washington Men's Rowing

By Ryan Sparks | January 9, 2012

THOMPSON BOAT CENTER, DC – The Thompson Boat Center off Rock Creek Parkway in Washington is a structure housing more programs in less square feet than maybe any other boathouse in the country. That said, they all have their distinctive flavors and records of success- thus proving the rowing personality is unique in its ability to work together and yet stay in A-type independence.

"Our job as coaches is to teach athletes things like good sportsmanship, healthy living, and let them learn about themselves through the sport."

The scene at seven AM is one of multiple programs going through the motions of warming up and launching in their own way. The George Washington men follow a set warm-up routine followed by a light briefing on the day's activities before launching in two relatively new Vespoli 8+s.

Mark Davis, the head coach, quips to his team "Today is Chuck Norris's birthday, so we're going to treat the oar like Chuck Norris would." Mark's philosophy on coaching is simple: "Our job as coaches is to teach athletes things like good sportsmanship, healthy living, and let them learn about themselves through the sport." In the end, he sees the point of the sport being pursuing knowledge of one's self, and the best race as one that ties everything – self-knowledge included – together at its best.

"People come to GW..especially because of… internships and connections – especially in the case of international affairs."

Mark recruits on the appeal of DC to kids who want to make an impact: on the world, themselves, and their team. "People come to GW because of the educational opportunities available inside the classroom but also especially because of the ones outside of it in terms of internships and connections – especially in the case of international affairs."

After taking over the program last Fall, he says "we're not expecting to win a national championship this year, but do better than last year – and repeat that result the following year and so on." Of his ideal recruit's priorities, he says "I want kids that are willing to push themselves really hard and still realize the team is bigger than them, and I'm not as concerned with erg score as much as how hard they're wiling to work to make themselves and the team better…winning and racing your best are not necessarily the same thing, so it's important to recruit people who want to make an impact by making a good program better"

"I want kids that are willing to push themselves really hard and still realize the team is bigger than them"

The GW men beat Pennsylvania in their inaugural race of the year then raced MIT, Cornell, Holy Cross this last weekend.