Student-athlete profile: Dylan Jackson '13
Dylan Jackson '13 is a team captain for Hamilton College men's crew. Dylan is a two-time member of the NESCAC spring all-academic team, and regularly rows with Hamilton's varsity eights and fours. He will help lead the team into their first event of the spring season -- a regatta at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, on Saturday, March 23.
Q: Tell us a little bit about where you grew up.
A: I’m from Yarmouth, Maine, a small town on the coast a bit north of Portland. It’s a great place, very comfortable, and I always enjoy going back.
Q: How did you get involved in rowing?
A: I started rowing in high school when the Yarmouth Rowing Club added a youth team just before my junior year. I originally swapped soccer for the fall rowing season to stay in shape for my primary sport, which was lacrosse. But I really clicked with rowing and the team and decided to dedicate myself to crew for both seasons.
Q: Did you participate in any other sports before arriving at Hamilton?
A: I played soccer and lacrosse until my junior year, then switched to rowing for my last two years of high school. I’ve never regretted the decision.
Q: What attracted you to Hamilton College and the men's rowing program?
A: When I first really visited Hamilton, it came up during the tour that I was a rower and the tour guide (then on the team) went out of his way to get me in touch with (head coach) Eric Summers right away. I could tell from their enthusiasm that the team was something I wanted to be a part of, and since I’d already fallen in love with Hamilton for a number of other reasons, that sealed the deal.
Q: The team has been training in Tampa since March 17 and will compete at Stetson University on March 23. What are you hoping to get out of the spring break training?
A: Spring break gives us an excellent opportunity to channel the gains we’ve made with our indoor winter training while working out some of the technical kinks since the fall season. It’s also a great chance for us to bond as a team, an integral part of creating a successful, cohesive crew. In particular, races at Stetson are a good challenge to see how we stack up against crews we don’t usually see during the regular season.
Q: The team’s first race when you return home will be at Union College for the Gilman Cup. Talk about the significance of this race and what it means to you.
A: The Gilman Cup is always an important race because it can set the tone for our season. Coming right into it with the discipline and dedication we develop over spring training lets us measure our gains and shortcomings. Plus, there’s a lot of team history tied up with the Cup, and it’s gone back and forth since we won it my freshman year. I’m ready to take it back.
Q: In the summer of 2012, you gained valuable experience when you competed for the Pennsylvania Athletic Club Rowing Association at the 2012 USRowing Club National Championships where you captured a gold, silver and bronze medal. What did this experience do for you?
A: My summer with Penn AC was incredibly rewarding (and not just for the medals). I was balancing rowing double sessions every day with a full-time internship, and I really got a sense of what it’s like to row in the “real world” (not to mention it made me appreciate Hamilton’s 4 to 7 practice time). Training and competing at an incredibly high level was an invaluable part of my own development as a rower in terms of technique, fitness and understanding the sport. I’ve been able to bring the things I learned from the experience back to the team at Hamilton so that I can share some of those gains.
Q: What has been your favorite memory from all of your seasons with the rowing team?
A: Tough one -- no one likes to play favorites. I’d say my trips to the Head of the Charles in Boston. It’s one of the biggest regattas in the world and an experience unlike any other for a rower, and this year we won our bid back for next year. I’m really proud to say that I can leave next year’s team with a chance to experience it for themselves.
Q: You are a captain of the men’s rowing team this year. In your opinion, what skills must a captain bring to the team?
A: To be honest, it’s a harder task than I expected. Bringing the team together and keeping everyone both disciplined and enthusiastic can be a challenge. But with my co-captain and the strong upperclassmen leaders, I think I’ve been able to create a strong drive that we all share. All the usual qualities of a good leader apply, but I think one of the most important skills a captain needs is perspective. We were freshmen once, too.
Q: As a two-time member of the NESCAC Spring All-Academic team, what advice do you have on excelling both in and out of the classroom?
A: The student-athlete challenge is all about balance as far as I’ve experienced. On the one hand, it’s a matter of time management (including knowing when something’s got to go), but the most important thing is to fully invest in everything you commit to in order to do the best you can.
Q: What has been your favorite class at Hamilton?
A: Another tricky one. But if I have to pick, I’d lean towards Prof. Lee’s Culture and Consumption my junior spring because I could geek out about advertising, or Benj Widiss’s US Modernism last semester (I’m a huge Hemingway fan). At the same time, it’s hard to find a class I’ve taken that I haven’t fully enjoyed.
Q: What will Dylan Jackson be doing five years from now?
A: With any luck I’ll be working in advertising and/or at business school, hopefully in the Philly, Boston or NYC area. And, of course, rowing at some level. Even if it’s not another sweep at Nationals, I know rowing will be a part of my life for a long time.