After years of success with Western’s club rowing team, Carl Smith, the club captain and president, will represent the U.S. this summer in the World University Games.
The World University Games will be held in Gwangju City, South Korea, July 3-14. Smith will compete in a two day rowing event. The U.S. will have three boats competing in the competition.
“The great thing about the World University Games team this year, it seems like all the guys that have been selected are really hungry to get out there and make a name for themselves and make a name for the United States,” Smith said.
Smith was selected for the national team through a series of interviews, footage of him competing and several people speaking on his behalf.
Jack Marolich, the men’s rowing team head coach, played a large part in Smith getting selected to be on the national team.
Marolich said he helped with the national process with an “intangible” sense. Marolich said he vouched that Smith, who has been coached by Marolich for four years, has a great work ethic and strong chemistry with Western’s rowing team.
“Those are the things coaches are looking for,” Marolich said. “That stuff can be just as important, if not more important, in seat selection.”
Smith joined the Western team with no experience, but with help from his team and coaches he was able to be where he is today.
“The [Western] team has been a tremendous part of why I love the sport so much and I think why I’ve managed to be so successful,” Smith said. “Everything that I do is to the credit of them.”
Smith defined rowing as “the absolute epitomization of a team sport.”
“Nothing I have done has been solo work. Everything that I have managed to do has been thanks to my family, thanks to my teammates I have here and thanks to my coach, Jack,” Smith said.
Smith came to the team with no experience, and attributes Marolich for his rapid growth.
“[Marolich] inspired me enough, and he was there in terms of the coaching, and putting in the hours,” Smith said. “The commitment that I get from the people around me, I want to do right by that.”
Smith said the only thing about being selected for the national team that worries him is having to have all his schoolwork finished three weeks early to make it to South Korea for his events.
“Balancing that with the racing schedule will be tricky, but it’s a pretty small price to pay, I would be more than happy to take on triple the school work to make this happen,” he said.
Smith came across rowing almost by mistake. He was asked to join the rowing team his freshman year at the Red Square Info Fair.
“The team leadership at the time snagged me as I walked by and had me sign up and I feel like it was probably just because I was tall,” Smith said.
Smith said his first rowing test is what hooked him on the sport, as nothing had ever challenged him like that did.
Smith, an Arizona native, made his way to Western because of a random college search online. He wanted a place that was “green” and “a bit rainy.” The Pacific Northwest fit those requirements, and he landed at Western.
“This experience is humbling to have been selected to a group that has such incredible athletes on it. All the other guys that have been selected on the team are tremendous people,” Smith said.
Smith sees his participating with the U.S. squad to be a tremendous opportunity.
“I think there’s very few opportunities in life to be able to take your craft, take what I love to do, and be able to apply it in a setting where I can do that at my upmost on behalf of the nation.”