Tenth-grader and Sarasota Crew rower Clark Dean was voted as Junior Athlete of the Year by USRowing in its Fan’s Choice Awards competition. Dean, who has been rowing for four years, has received local and national recognition for his rowing prowess.
According to Dean, his friend’s mom nominated him for the competition. Dean says that there were a lot of applicants, which were narrowed down to five finalists announced Sept. 28. Voting was open to the public, and for a little more than a month, family, friends and coaches voted for Dean. Dean was announced as the Junior Athlete of the Year on Oct. 22.
Dean started rowing in sixth grade in the Sarasota Crew summer camp. “After a while, I started getting competitive,” Dean said. As an eighth-grader, Dean was already competing in freshman races. Once he reached high school, he began rowing with the varsity eight boat as its youngest member. According to Dean, he doesn’t mind being the youngest in the boat. He said, “We’ve become good friends. I really get along with them.”
One of Dean’s favorite rowing experiences was racing in the quad at the Royal Canadian Henley in Ontario, Canada, where the team placed first. According to Dean, he enjoyed winning the race with his teammates, who he is close friends with.
Dean said one of the most difficult aspects of rowing is finding a balance between the sport and homework. On most nights, he does not start homework until about 8:30 p.m. “Rowing motivates you to work hard,” he said.
Dean and his parents attended an awards dinner in New York City Nov. 20. At the dinner, Dean gave a speech to the attendees and was awarded with a trophy.
“[Rowing] is all about how much you want it,” Dean said. “You just have to try really hard.”