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Zubin Kenkare: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Veronica Yarovinsky ’20
“No member of a Crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.”
This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is up on the wall of the New Haven Rowing Club, where the Crew team practices. Zubin Kenkare ’19, one of the captains this year, explained that this quote de- scribes both the nature of the sport and the job of the captains: “The sport doesn’t allow for anyone on the team to be off. Everyone has to be on one hundred percent all of the time. Otherwise, it doesn’t work.”

Kenkare joined the team in freshman year and grew to become one of the top four rowers on the boys’ team. He has been a part of the first varsity boat since his junior year, and his boats qualified for the New England Rowing Championship, known as NEIRAs, in his freshman and junior years, as well as the current season. Fellow captain Ben Washburne ‘19 noted, “his greatest achievement will take place this year at NEIRAs, as we have a very fast boat this year.”

In addition to the regattas, the team also ergs (practices on rowing machines) to train technique and build up strength. Kenkare explained, “The team itself is very supportive of each other but, like any good team, we also like to be competitive. Coach posts erg times and it can be fun to compete among ourselves. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that erg scores matter and, as of right now, fellow Captain Ben Washburne has the school 6k and 2k record at 21:35.1 and 6:42.8 respectively.” This year, Kenkare pulled the fourth-fastest 2k and the third-fastest 6k in Hopkins Crew history. He reminisced that “this year, we did a 6k where everyone beat their personal best. It was the best feeling for Ben and me, seeing our team PR [set a personal record] after a couple of weeks on the water. That was a proud moment.”

However, not all Crew practices and regattas run so smoothly. Kenkare explained, “The worst moment for me happened freshman year. Our boat,Varsity Boys 4, had made the New England Rowing Championship, known as NEIRAs. About forty strokes off the line, I caught a crab (when the oar gets caught in the water) and forced the boat to come to a complete stop, placing Hopkins B4 in last place. From that moment on, I promised myself that I would always strive to be the best that I could be.”

Kenkare has lived up to that promise not only as a rower but also as a crucial team member and leader. Teammate Tommy Lasersohn ’21, who is part of the same boat as Kenkare, explained Kenkare’s strong leadership skills: “Zubin is the best captain I have ever had the pleasure of being under on a sports team. He is a consistent, motivating force on the Crew team, and has been since I was a novice, even when he had no obligation to assist new members.” Laser-
sohn also gave a glimpse of Kenkare’s fun side: “My favorite memory of Zubin was when, on a certain Wednesday, we had a full Crew team swimming championship, in which Zubin employed some questionable tactics to sauce his way to a second place finish.” Madeleine Walker ’19, a member of the Girls Crew team confirmed Kenkare’s dedication to the sport: “I was once at a party and I look over and Zubin’s on his phone looking up the regatta race times from
that morning, no shame.”

According to Kenkare, “being a captain is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far. It’s also been one of the most challenging. Being a captain means that you have to be the first to show up and the last
to leave. Anything and everything the team does falls on the captain’s shoulders. The most important thing is to lead by example: everything you do as a captain is scrutinized by your teammates. You have to do what you want them to do. It’s a lot of responsibility but I love the team and my job.”

As a strong rower and leader, Kenkare’s words of wisdom to his fellow team members and to anyone in the Hopkins community are: “everyone should partake in a sport. Water Polo, Swimming, and Crew have taught me lessons that I never would have learned otherwise. Winners dedicate themselves to everything they do because everything matters -- every thought, word, and deed is who you are.”


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