PRINCETON, N.J. – Harvard sophomore Andrew Campbell has been selected as the 2011 USRowing Man of the Year, the organization announced Monday.
The award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to men's rowing or to an outstanding man in rowing. Campbell will be honored at the USRowing Annual Convention in Hartford, Conn.
"I was pretty excited when I got the call," said Campbell. "It was definitely unexpected and I'm extremely flattered. If you had asked me at the beginning of the year if I expected all the success I've had, I definitely would have looked at you a little funny."
It has been a busy year for the 19-year-old. He rowed in Harvard's lightweight freshman eight in the spring and then went on to win the single at the USRowing National Championships.
He followed that performance with a bronze medal in the event at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam and then a fourth-place finish at the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
"Andrew set a milestone with the first medal performance in the lightweight men's single sculls at U23, with a follow-up fourth place at the senior worlds in Bled. He has a great future ahead of him and solid competitive achievement in FISA competition," said USRowing chief executive officer Glenn Merry.
Campbell began rowing the single at Maritime Rowing Club in New Canaan, Conn., as a 13-year-old middle school student. Under the guidance of Yan Vengerovskiy, a former national team rower from the Ukraine who has helped produce several national team oarsmen, Campbell learned to race.
He rowed the event for his high school and won the single sculls and the lightweight double sculls at the 2010 USRowing Youth National Championships and finished second in the lightweight double sculls the year before.
"People ask my parents if they push me, or do my coaches push me, and my parents say, 'Oh no, we just sit there and hold onto the reigns and hope for the best.' That's what it's been like," Campbell said. "It's been one event leading into the next and just keep on charging and charging and just hang on and see how far we can go with it."
Campbell was recruited to row at Harvard by current lightweight men's coach Charley Butt.
"Andrew came from an outstanding junior program and was an outstanding rower, despite being quite a bit smaller than everybody else at the world level," Butt said. "And it's remarkable that he has just made such consistent progress and that he handled the pressure as well as he did last summer. He has a very bright future."
This fall, Campbell dropped his course load at Harvard to just two classes to focus on the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer. Campbell has teamed up with national team lightweight Will Daly, who rowed in the lightweight four in Slovenia. They are hoping to row the lightweight double at the Olympics.
"It's nice to appreciate what I've done, but really, right now, we're focusing on moving forward and trying to keep this momentum going. I'm in school part time right now, taking two classes, and I'm training full time. I'm on the river pretty much all day.
"(Will and I) are going to try and make the 2012 Olympic team. I'm taking the spring semester off," he said. "With all the right circumstances, we can definitely pull together a win at trials and then go and qualify the boat for the U.S. in Lucerne. That is the goal."