Freshman finds competition, new experiences on rowing team

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At 5 a.m. most mornings the Texas men’s rowing club can be found on the waters of Lady Bird Lake preparing for its upcoming meets. The club has provided freshman Aftab Kahn a place to workout and compete.
Photo Credit: Carlo Nasisse | Daily Texan Staff

It was a cloudy, warm morning when the Texas Club Rowing team took to the Brazos River in Waco for its first regatta of the season late September. Freshman Aftab Khan looked toward the sky, reflecting on how after just two weeks on the water, he was competing in his first-ever regatta.

Khan, who had no prior experience rowing, found the competition and teamwork he had always craved on the team.

“What got me into rowing was my drive to stay fit while competing against others,” Khan said. “Even though we were only novices racing other novices in our first regatta, never have I felt a better sense of teamwork and unison.”

Khan, a Corpus Christi native, had never competed in any sort of rowing competition before coming to Texas. He started rowing last semester and was immediately attracted to the competitive nature of the sport. Although rowing is relatively new for the freshman, Khan has become completely engrossed in the sport.

“Since I have joined, I have watched many Olympic races and other pro races just to get a feel for what I was getting myself into,” Khan said.

However, it wasn’t only the competition that drew Khan to rowing. Waking up before 5 a.m. most mornings, Khan sees a different side of Austin that most others don’t.

“Nothing feels as good as watching the sun rise every morning during practice as we are out there on the water,” said Khan. “It also feels great to say you are part of the University of Texas rowing team, a feat not many can share.”

Khan also enjoys the opportunity to try something new. As an inexperienced rower, it has been a learning process, but one that he enjoys. At six-foot-one-inch tall, Khan finds confidence in his large frame. He believes there is nothing but an upward trend for his rowing future, as well as the future of his club.

“Hopefully we will do well at our national competitions at the end of the season while representing our great school,” Khan said.

As Khan and the rest of the team look ahead to their next competition — the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta in Tennessee — the freshman looks forward to the continued growth for not only himself, but also for his team.

“I just cannot wait to see what the future holds,” said Khan. “The whole club rowing experience has been an exciting process for me, one that I cannot wait to enjoy during the rest of my time at the University of Texas.”