Rower Spotlight: Ryan Krupansky
This month, we feature another Junior Racer before they leave NRC for "bigger waters." Ryan Krupanksy took his first strokes on our beloved Beebe Cove. Now, after four years and hundreds of thousands more strokes, he will become a collegiate rower in the fall. As the coach who has had the pleasure of workingwith Ryan from those first strokes, Coach Kristen offers to his next coach: Ryan will be a cornerstone of his collegian crew. His humbleness is equaled by his focus and determination. His clear sense of purpose, honesty, responsibility, and fair play will be among his greatest team assets as well as fine personal guides. As a single sculler, I am personally proud of the fearless way he moved into single sculling. This is just one example of his fortitude and lion-hearted courage. It has been my great honor and blessing to work with such a fine athlete as Ryan Krupansky.
How did you learn about rowing and NRC? Did you participate in another sport prior?
I learned about NRC when I was a freshman in high school. One day, Gianni Jannke’s Dad, Kurt Jannke, handed me a white envelope with forms to sign up for the novice class. At first I was a little skeptical about trying new sport since everyone had established sports. When my mom saw the rowing forms, she strongly encouraged me to try it. I signed up to humor her. I still remember my first day. There were about a dozen of us. Gianni and I were the only boys. It was a foggy, spring day and a little rough on the water. Because I joined in the second session, I lacked the preparation that other novice rowers had. On my first day, Kristen threw me in an eight and sent me right out. But, I picked up the fundamentals quickly. It was, honestly, one of the reasons why I came back. I enjoyed being on the water.
You've graduated from high school. Congrats! What are your plans for next year? Will they include rowing?
This fall I am attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. I plan on majoring in electrical engineering. My cousin transferred to Liberty from Texas A&M in her freshmen year. After talking to my cousin and her sister (who goes there now) and visiting the campus twice, I knew this school was going to be a big part of my life. Before I considered the school, I made sure there was a rowing team. At Liberty, rowing is a club sport. Rowing is one of my biggest passions and I don’t think that is something I could leave behind. Rowing in college gives me the opportunity to quickly make new friends and, more importantly, to better my rowing technique. I enjoy the feeling of working hard and improving. In the end, it all pays off. It’s such a rewarding feeling. Like most collegiate programs, Liberty rows sweep. Though I sculled throughout high school, I feel it has prepared me for the challenges of sweep rowing. Sculling forces a rower to focus more on balance and technique - everything you do in a single or double drastically affects performance. With sweep it’s the same concept but not as fine tuned. It’ll be really exciting to learn both types of rowing and training with new people who are just as enthusiastic and excited as I am to be on the team.
You were a part of the beginning of the Junior Racers program. Could you tell us about that?
The Junior Racers program started when I was a junior in high school. Before Racers was started, Gianni and I rowed the Coastweeks Regatta twice. We had a little racing experience under our belts. Plus we were always spending our Saturday and Sunday mornings on the water. We were eager. When Kristen announced that a new coach was being hired for the Racers program, I knew I wanted to be apart of it. The racing team was always a small bunch. I can remember the first season we had about eight people. Since then we’ve only had about four or five people at a time. Even though we were small, it allowed us to build tight relationships as teammates and even better relationships as friends. This helped us all, since teamwork and support is a large part of racing. The Racers program was a life changer for me. After my first season of racing, I was becoming more and more determined to improve. The summer before my senior year I was spending every day running and rowing to attain the endurance I needed to prepare for the fall season. The hard work definitely paid off.
What is your favorite boat to row?
I have a couple of favorite boats. My first favorite is Grey Matter since that was the first shell I ever raced in. Second would be RANrun because that is the current racing shell my rowing partner, Gianni, and I like to row. Third would have to be Seamus since it’s great for when I'm out on the water by myself. Personally, I enjoy rowing it. Fourth and final favorite would have to be NOanker, since it is the first quad I raced in. I have some good memories in that boat.
Why should young people get involved in rowing? How do you compare it to other sports?
Rowing is a sport for all ages especially the youth. It is a way for young kids to get in shape, make new friends and learn the values of responsibility and teamwork. Rowing is very unique in comparison to other sports; it requires you to be dedicated and determined, but also allows younger aged kids to enjoy the sport of rowing and appreciate what it has to offer. I started in high school not knowing what sport to participate in. When I found rowing, everything seemed to come together. By discovering rowing at a young age, I have made many close friends over the years and have had the privilege of working with many unbelievable mentors who have helped make me the rower that I am today. I am very blessed.
What are some of the highlights from your time at NRC?
There are certain moments in a rower’s life that seem to stick out more than others. I can say during my entire rowing career at NRC there are plenty of these moments. For example, during the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta I can just remember the way our quad rowed during that race. Even though we had collided with another boat, we were able to make the best with what we had. That day, everyone gave it their all and that boat moved. It was, hands down, one of the best races I had ever raced. Another great moment that sticks with me would have to have been this year's Long Island Championships. The entire day the temperature was mid forties in a constant downpour. Although it was dreadfully and bone-chilling cold, again our quad raced to its full potential and we were able to squeeze out a second place! Overall, this was the highlight of my final racing season at NRC.
If you could change one thing about NRC what would it be?
Honestly, I think NRC is just fine the way it is. The way everyone, whether master or novice, interacts with each other reflects the hospitality and friendliness NRC has to offer. NRC does a fantastic job at creating a positive and inviting atmosphere to encourage others to learn how to row and give them a glimpse of what the sport of rowing is really all about. The rowing community is constantly increasing and I think given the way NRC is now, the club does a great job of spreading the word and getting newcomers interested in trying this tremendous sport.
What is your opinion of the Concept II erg?
The erg is honestly one of the greatest machines ever developed. Although it is notorious for bringing utter pain and suffering to those who dare push their limits, it is a great way to get a workout and sometimes blow off some steam when you're having a bad day. Personally, I like erging long pieces and zoning out to a great playlist or working on rating. The only part of the erg that I struggle with is rowing a 2k. I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome the challenges, both physical and mental, that this test presents.
Do you have a vision for what NRC could become in the future?
NRC has so much potential for young athletes. Coach Kristen is absolutely phenomenal. Coach Allie does a tremendous job taking rowers to the next level. I can envision NRC seeking out high school athletes such as Abby, Nick, Gianni, and myself who hold so much potential. It would benefit the rowing community and it’s a good way to represent the club. I can see NRC working with determined and dedicated athletes to not only continue the racing program, but also carry on the legacy of NRC to the next generation.
Will you come back and visit us?
Yes of course! NRC is like a second home to me and even in college or as an adult I will always have time to come back and visit.