Thomas Evans has tried other sports but none have been as exhilarating to him as rowing.
"It just grabbed me," said Thomas, an Aiken resident and a member of the Augusta Rowing Club.
Thomas, who is a junior at Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez, said he started rowing when he was in the seventh grade and lived in Connecticut. Rowing became a more competitive sport for him in eighth grade when he began to row in weekend races.
"I couldn't wait until the next weekend. I can't say that about any other sport I've played," he said.
Thomas moved to the Aiken area about a year ago in the middle of his sophomore year. Although it was a transition, the fact that he could still row on the river in the dead of winter was a plus, he said.
In Connecticut, freezing winters make it impossible to row outdoors from November until spring. Those months were spent indoors training on exercise equipment, which can be very boring, Thomas said.
"It's exciting when you can get out" on the water, he said.
Thomas said he prefers team rowing to individual competition, and enjoys working with his teammates.
"It's kind of a family," he said.
He likened a race to hanging out with a bunch of friends in a boat, then working intensely for 20 minutes before hanging out again.
Thomas said his best race was Oct. 28-29 when the Augusta team traveled to Philadelphia for the Head of the Schuylkill race. The Augustans finished seventh out of 48 teams.
"It seemed like there were a gazillion boats out there," he said.
Thomas said he would like to row for a college team. During the summer he attended a rowing camp at Princeton University.
"My super dream is of (attending) Princeton," he said.
Although rowing takes up a lot of time, Thomas said the excitement of the sport helps keep him mentally sharp.
After a practice, "I can go home and do homework for an hour and a half, and I can stay focused," he said.
Thomas said he hopes he can get a rowing scholarship.
While he'd love to attend Princeton, he said a more realistic goal would be going to a school such as the Georgia Institute of Technology. He said he wants to major in either industrial or mechanical engineering.
"Math and science, that's what fascinates me," he said.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.