SARATOGA SPRINGS — Tucker Wurtmann, a senior rower at Saratoga Springs CSD, has officially committed to Columbia for rowing after only being active in the sport for eight months.
“My recruitment story is pretty unique. I started rowing about eight months ago, but being a cross country runner, I was able to work really hard for college recruitment and evidently, a career at Columbia,” Wurtmann explained.
After hearing about rowing from friends and knowing the reputation of Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA); “we tend to win and have a really strong program in terms of individual rowers,” Wurtmann decided to give it a try.
He was diagnosed with stress fractures in both tibias from running for three years, forcing a transition to rowing, which he ended up loving.
“At SRA, I’m on a team with about 30 or so guys. We do a combination of on the water training, whether it be in smaller boats or larger boats, as well as indoor workouts,” he explained.
Due to his Columbia commitment, Wurtmann does not intend to run again and does off-season rowing training with a friend.
“I had been running on my own a little bit in middle school and my cousin, who is a runner, bought me shoes and encouraged me to run in high school,” he stated.
Wurtmann also dabbled briefly in Nordic skiing.
To achieve greatness, Wurtmann worked out a lot on his own and use the P.E.T.E. Plan, a continuous training plan that follows a three-week cycle that repeats sessions ever three weeks. He visited a few different schools and chose Columbia because of the team culture.
“Columbia was really the one team that I saw put in a lot of work on their own and that’s something that I really valued because my story is that I was the inexperienced rower with a good base in cardio, and so I had a lot of potential but not really as much experience as any of the other guys. I really like the culture of the team and that everyone does their own work and I also really like the guys on the team. Seeing them balance rowing in addition to being one of the best academic universities was really impressive to me and something that I’m really excited to join next year,” Wurtmann said.
At Columbia, he intends to major in biology and become an oral surgeon.
“We have really great teachers here at Saratoga and it’s been more interesting and more fun this year. I feel really confident and I’m excited to finish off the year strong,” he said of his academics.
Wurtmann has nothing but praise for the coaches and team at SRA.
“We have incredible coaches who will encourage you no matter what and give you everything you need to be as successful as you want. I think, in addition to that, the biggest thing for me was talking to the guys who are my same age but are heavier than me: have more muscle and more experience; talking to guys like that who will never look down on someone who is less than them and will only give advice on how to get better. All the team wants, really, is to get better. It’s really what you make of it. You are as good as how hard you work,” he mused.
Wurtmann should serve as an example of it never being too late to chase a dream and change your mind about something. He worked hard to succeed in a sport he only just started with and it paid off.
“If there is anyone interested in beginning rowing, never be discouraged by your starting point because the beautiful thing about rowing is that you can really pour your heart into it and get results. Improvement is proportional to how hard you work and discouragement in the early stages of your rowing career are not conducive to success.”