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Biographies



Stories from our rowers. e-mail us if you would like to be included! 

 

Connor Goham

I’m Connor Goham, from Endicott New York near Binghamton. I’m currently in my second junior 
semester and am a physics/math double major. This is my sixth semester on the team, I joined the team my first semester with no prior rowing experience, but fell in love with the sport. Through crew, I have come to know so many people that I otherwise would most likely never have met. After graduating I plan on attending graduate school for physics, and I hope that wherever I end up, there are opportunities to row as a graduate student or part of some rowing club.

      




                              Ava Rubino


I'm Ava Rubino, from Islip Terrace, New York. I am currently a freshmen at Stony Brook University. I am a health science major, and going to become a physician assistant. This is my first year rowing crew. I rowed bow seat last semester, but this semester I became a coxswain. I'm super committed to this sport, and can't wait to continue it my entire life. I also love cats.



     Natalie Spence 
 
I’m Natalie Spence, a junior from Durham, Connecticut, and ever since stepping foot 
on the crew team, I’ve been in love with every second of it. While I always thought 
the sport of rowing was interesting, I got my first shot at a version of it in a dragon 
boat race that I participated in with my dad. Joining the team the following semester 
has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences that I look back on 
fondly. With each semester, as the stresses of school and a possible career paths 
constantly changing, crew has always been a constant and something that makes me 
excited to get up in the morning. As I near the end of my college career to go on and 
hopefully make a splash in the fashion and marketing world, I will take with me the 
memories and lessons I learned of leadership and perseverance when it seems most 
difficult, and I will look back on all the moments I had on this team and remember our              chapter at Stony Brook.
     

Jacky Li

      
Hey all! My name is Jacky and I am from Brooklyn, New York. I am a sophomore double majoring in Applied Math and Information Systems. This is my third semester on the team, and I have to say, it’s been quite a journey. Prior to joining the team, I only kayaked and from this minor experience, I discovered that I enjoyed being on the water. Because of this, I pursued my passion and searched for a club/team that is heavily dependent on being on the water. I came upon the crew team and joined the team the second semester of freshmen year. Initially, I struggled adjusting to the early morning practices and felt excluded because my erg times were not as good as the other team members’ times. However, my times quickly improved and water practices made all the hard work worth it. Seeing the sunrise every morning is a once in a lifetime experience and an experience that is worth cherishing. It’s not often that you wake up every morning to witness this unforgettable experience and the crew team provides exactly this chance. Also, on the surface, callouses seem intimidating and painful, but they are actually a symbol of a rower’s hard work and dedication. I’ve come to enjoy callouses because they show how far I’ve come and how much more I can push myself in the future. My advice to new rowers or returning rowers is to not let go of your passion because there is always room for improvement and if there is ever hindrance to your success, it is your own lack of motivation.


Corey Fitzpatrick 

Started rowing as a novice at Chaminade High School. After training for a year, advanced to the second varsity eight. In the SRAA national championships his boat made it past heats and semifinals to get fourth in the grand final. As a senior he progressed to 7 seat in the Varsity Eight. He competed at the Youth National Championships in the V8 and was second among high schools. Additionally rowed for both Sagamore Rowing and Long Island Rowing’s summer leagues. Went on to hang and bang at the Division 1 level for the University of Wisconsin. Transferred to Stony Brook as a sophomore. Named the “Player to Watch” by the prestigious newspaper, The Statesman. Decided to take his talents to Europe and study at the Copenhagen Business School in the fall of 2015. Currently a Junior studying political science and preparing for Law School. Involved in the Club Lacrosse Team, Pre-Law Society, a Teaching Assistant and member of the Pre-Law Fraternity. Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2006.



 Alex Acuna 

 
Hello, my name is Alex and I am a senior on the Stony Brook Crew team. I am majoring in 
English and minoring in writing. I am from Wading River and was born and raised on Long Island. The summer before my junior year of college I signed up for a “learn to row” program at East End’s boathouse in Riverhead, and this is when I fell in love with rowing. I started off sweeping in a four, then I learned how to scull in a quad, then a double and finally a single. I now own a Hudson lightweight single, which I row privately and I hope to possibly enter in a race this season. What started off as an activity to simply keep busy and stay in shape over the summer, unexpectedly evolved into a passion and love for the sport. Today, I couldn’t imagine my life without rowing, and I plan to continue even after college. I joined the crew team at Stony Brook in the fall of my senior year, and my only regret is not joining earlier. Rowing in a single is great, but nothing compares to being on a team and having a close-knit support system. My teammates keep me encouraged and accountable. I have met 
amazing, positive people and shared incredible experiences with friends that I hope to have for life. Last season I rowed three seat in the women’s novice four, and we took first place in the Braxton regatta. Words cannot describe the joy and satisfaction we all felt after we crossed that finish line and saw that we had won. This team has made my experience at Stony Brook better than I could have imagined. Waking up before the sunrise is not easy, the training is physically and mentally tough, but it is so rewarding and it challenges you to test your limits.This sport and this team have truly shaped who I am as a person. They taught me how to be disciplined, focused and driven. They taught me the importance of having a positive mindset, and that pain during an erg piece is only temporary… And besides all of that, I am in the best physical shape I have been in my life! I could try to explain the adrenaline rush or the feeling that you get during a race; I can describe the beauty of seeing the sunrise over glassy water during practice, or I could tell you how accomplished you feel when you PR on a 2k erg test, but it is not something anyone can understand until they experience it for themselves. So what are you waiting for? Come join the team! You won’t regret it.


     Mary Gallagher
 
     Hi! My name is Mary Katherine Gallagher and I attend Stony Brook University as a Health Science major with a special interest in Occupational Therapy. I was born and raised in Queens NY. My hobbies include reading, writing, singing, running and making people laugh. I am obsessed with foreign film, the television shows LOST and Breaking Bad, and show tunes. Most days you can find me hanging out with my best friend Meaghan (see Meaghan's bio!) In addition to crew, I'm also in an all female A Capella group, The Stony Brook Pipettes. I went to Archbishop Molloy high school in Jamaica NY, and while I loved my time there and was involved in many clubs, I never found a sport that I truly loved. This all changed when I came to college and joined the crew team. As a member of this team I have learned to live by the saying, "Nothing good happens after 8AM." While waking up at 5am might sound like a drag, each and every morning I wake up for crew is the best part of my entire day. The friends I have made through overcoming obstacles (literally and figuratively), the lessons I have learned, and the overall experience of being on this team has changed my life for the better. Nothing compares to working hard to achieve something bigger than yourself side by side with your best friends. Nothing beats the sunrise and crisp air of Knox mornings. Nothing but rowing has ever made me feel so alive. 
     I hope to continue my involvement in the sport of crew for the rest of my life. If you want to make unforgettable memories and challenge yourself, join this team. You won't regret it.

 


Dhruv Dixit

    My name is Dhruv Dixit. I am a freshman on the Stony Brook Crew team. I am originally from Gujarat, India; in the United States, I reside in Massachusetts. I am Math and Physics double major with an undeclared Astronomy minor. I joined crew because I had heard that it provides a rigorous exercise. Also, I was a swimmer in high school, and since our University Pool is closed, this was the next best water sport. Crew, due to the high level of commitment and morning practice, has compelled me to properly manage my time so that my grades also don’t drop and I can continue rowing. Also, I have 8:00 am classes so waking up at five in the morning ensures that I am always awake for those classes. Crew has helped me meet a great group of hardworking, motivating, supporting, and determined individuals. 

    I have normally row 3rd and 4th seats during practices, but have rowed 5th seat during our regatta. My favorite colors are purple and brown, specifically, byzantium and chocolate. I have a penchant for ice cream; my favorite flavors are butter pecan, maple and walnuts, and anything Coldstone.


   Stephen Grant

    My name's Steve and I am a sophomore chemistry major with a history minor. I am in the Honors College and work as a student consultant at the TLT SINC Sites. I am also doing research for the Carrico group, whose primary focus is bioorthogonal chemistry. I am a commuter from Longwood, which is about a half hour east of Stony Brook, and at Longwood, I played lacrosse, football, and winter track. I am still somewhat interested in Longwood athletics as my little brothers also play football and lacrosse. Overall, I love sports and to go into college without being involved in a sport is unthinkable. Unfortunately, I was not good enough for varsity athletics and club lacrosse wasn't what I was looking for, so now I row.
 I initially turned to crew because my high school did not have a crew team and it seemed cool in the Olympics. Now, I am hopelessly addicted. It is just so nice to be able to go away for a few hours and not have to think about school or anything other than that next stroke. I absolutely love the competition, the work, the mindless nature of it, the beautiful landscapes in which we row, and my crewmates. Two years ago, I would have never imagined being on a crew team, now I cannot imagine college without it.

 


    Christina Chahalis
      Hey I'm Christina. As a biology major in my senior year, I was tired of doing nothing but     study in my room and decided to join the crew team. Little did I know that this team would literally transform my college experience. "The friendships I've made are irreplaceable." I have never been one to stick with hobbies, having done just about everything imaginable and having quit every time. But crew is different. I actually like it enough to wake up at 4:45 every morning. Who needs sleep? I sure don't. Sleep is for the weak and pain is progress my friends. These are the things I have learned. You will learn them too, but only if you yourself choose to row. Anyway, real talk, rowing is something I want to do until I can't anymore..until my back gives out or until my body can't take it anymore...and that's that.

 


      Eric Cwalinski
        Hey, my name is Eric Cwalinski and I’m currently a freshman in the class of 2016. I’m a Biology major on the Pre-Med track. I’m also a commuter that lives in Central Islip. I’m originally from a town called Chester in Orange County, NY and graduated from Warwick Valley High School. I started rowing in the winter of my senior year in high school. In high school I was 3 seat in our men’s heavyweight 4+ and 7 seat in our heavyweight 8+. Now I am stroke seat in both the men’s novice 4+ and 8+ boats. I am able to row both starboard and port sides but I originally started as a starboard rower. I have yet to get the technique down for sculling. I am also on the e-board serving as one of the two equipment managers.

My favorite quote would probably have to be one by Jim Rohn.
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
 

 


    Stephanie Kovant

     Hey, my name is Steph Kovnat and I am a freshman here at Stony Brook University. I am a health science major on the pre-med track, from Plainview, Long Island. I played lacrosse in high school, playing defense, and I have been skiing and snowboarding for many years now. I only discovered the crew team at the start of spring semester and I was apprehensive to join because I figured that I would be way behind everyone else’s skill level. When I finally showed up at practice, the whole team was extremely welcoming and understanding of the fact that I had never rowed before. I learn something new everyday, and even though it gets hard waking up at 5 am, I know that I can look forward to having a fun practice. Currently I have been switching between bow seat and 2nd seat and even though it’s just the beginning for me, I am already favoring port side rowing. I work at Lifetime Fitness in Syosset so lucky for me, I have a huge gym at my disposal to practice rowing and improve my 2k time. I can’t wait to see what new things I learn and which new people I meet in the future all because I joined the crew team.

 

 


       

 




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