Q&A with lightweight rower Henry Cawthorne '19

by Max Zhuang | 7/27/17 8:25pm


Cawthorne, nominated for the Alfred E. Watson Trophy, is pictured in season.

Henry Cawthorne ’19 is a member of the lightweight rowing team. Being a student-athlete during sophomore summer lends itself to a unique experience, which Henry discusses in this interview.

What have you been doing during your sophomore summer?

HC: I’ve been hanging out with friends more and it’s been a good opportunity to know Dartmouth outside of my sport. I’ve really enjoyed the bonding time in the summer to hang out with my teammates outside of competing. It is a lot more relaxing and fun compared to the other terms when being on the rowing team means we have to worry about cutting weight and not having as much leisure time.

What classes are you taking and what have you learned from the workload during this time?

HC: Layups are not layups, man. I’m in Astro 1, Govt 50.04, “War and Peace,” and English 48, “Critical Issues in Post Colonial Studies.” I’m currently a government major, and I plan on minoring in English as well.

Where are you from and how is this summer in Hanover different?

HC: It’s weird — it’s very different compared to where I’m from. I’m originally from Britain, and summers in Doncaster in South Yorkshire are much more inclement and overcast. We only really have a couple weeks of the summer where the weather is as hot as what it regularly is in Hanover. What’s strange is that there really is a lot more school work because of the classes I’m currently taking, so there’s no vacation time like how I’m used to having the summers off. It’s been a really fun term overall, but the workload is more than I expected it to be.

What’s been difficult about cutting weight and what is it like not having to deal with that right now?

HC: It’s been fantastic. I’ve been able to put on a lot more weight since the season has ended. That means in the spring our boats have to average 155 pounds, and so I typically need to cut my weight down to 157 pounds. My mate, Jackson Witherspoon ’19, is naturally a bit lighter than me so he needs to cut down to 151 pounds. Cutting weight is not a pleasant experience because you don’t really drink anything for 48 hours, and so I haven’t had to do that at all this summer. I’m at 170 pounds right now.

What have you done during your leisure time?

HC: A few weekends ago, I climbed Mount Cardigan with some friends, and it’s been a blast going on a couple more hikes and seeing the nature side of Dartmouth. I really appreciate being in the woods, being outdoors and having the time to enjoy it with some friends. Sometimes it gets very intense scaling the summit of a mountain and then having to climb back down.

What’s been your best rowing memory at Dartmouth?

HC: This past Spring we went to Sacramento, California for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship and we won bronze, which is like the nationals for collegiate rowing in the Varsity Lightweight Fours. It was really cool achieving that level of recognition with my teammates and getting third in the nation.

Who (besides your parents) is the greatest influence in your life?

HC: My high school coach, because I was never thinking about going to America for college. However, he saw a lot more potential in me than I saw in myself, and he helped me with the whole process of getting into American college. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be in college in America, rowing and enjoying my sophomore summer. Instead, I’d be going to university in Britain just hanging out.

What’s up with the poster with your face on it?

HC: I was nominated for the Alfred E. Watson Trophy, which is presented each year to the most outstanding male athlete of the year. My coach nominated me for the trophy as the best athlete for the lightweight rowing team.

Do you think you’re the best athlete on the team?

HC: Definitely not.

What’s your objective value that you bring to the team and how do you measure that?

HC: We have a standard two kilometer test for rowing and my time for that is 6 minutes and 14 seconds.

What are your plans for your upcoming off term?

HC: Hopefully I get an internship, or if not I’ll probably go back to London and work.

For fun, if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

HC: Vietnam is just somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it would be so cool to go on a bike tour in Vietnam. I think they have a pretty interesting culture.

Do you have a nickname on your team? Who gave it to you and why?

HC: Stripes ... just kidding I don’t think I have a nickname.

Any big life lessons or key takeaways from this summer?

HC: Layups are not layups. I have also learned living in a house with people that aren’t your family causes a lot of problems. Being a homeowner is difficult; we live in 29 South Park, which is the Fire and Skoal House. It’s great because my room is like two or three times larger than any dorm I’ve had, so it’s nice to not have my existence confined. Furthermore, there’s the guys to hang out with, so it’s like my home base to go to. I love having barbecues and a garden. We have a pong table out there as well and we just hang out. We have some sofas in the back garden.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

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