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John “E.J.” McCarthy

Club CUBC Men

Year of Birth 1988

Hometown Vienna, Virginia

Nationality USA

College Fitzwilliam

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 2nd

What are you studying? Chemical Engineering

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The most interesting part of my course is that I have the opportunity to integrate components of experimental, computational, and theoretical investigation in a high octane intellectual capacity every day. Feeling like you can have a novel, tangible impact on the world during any given day at the office is a pretty invigorating feeling. After graduation, I’d like to establish my bioanalytics start-up, Pramanta Sciences, as a force to be reckoned with in the pharmaceutical world.

Future ambitions? Yes, I’d like to continue my work driving and evaluating innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry as a scientist, financier and entrepreneur. Beyond that, I certainly hope to stay involved in the sport of rowing in some capacity, be it as a rower, coach, or passionate alumnus. If all goes according to plan, I hope to one day pay it forward to the next generation by taking up some work as a high school teacher during the later stages of my career.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? With a well calibrated scale. Joking aside, it just comes down to effective time management, as the school/training schedule is much easier to navigate if you put yourself in a position to be proactive with regards to your commitments as opposed to reactive.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in 2003 because I was tall, skinny, but most importantly, a terrible athlete. My mother encouraged me to try out the sport because it was unconventional, and unlike more marquee sports, did not require an extensive amount of hand-eye coordination. The sense of agency and purpose along with the close lifelong friendships formed through the sport were infectious, and have been a key component in why the sport has been a part of my life for the better part of the past 20 years.

What was your first club? Gonzaga College High School.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The opportunity to make friends from all over the globe and share sustained, common interests together at a high level both on and off the water.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I have had the pleasure of rowing for the following clubs during my years - Gonzaga College High School (03-07), Boston College (07-11) and Potomac Boat Club (10-present) - as well as serving as an assistant coach at Gonzaga (13-16) prior to coming to Cambridge. My biggest achievement would be any opportunity I have had to help teammates or youngsters I have coached exceed their own expectations.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? Nope.

Your favourite race so far? Stotesbury Cup Regatta 2003.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I eat salmon and rice the day before a big race, and watermelon the morning of.

Your sporting idol? Kevin Garnett.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? James Tufnell.

What gets you through a tough session?

Do you have a mantra, rituals? A reliable estimate of what splits you should be at prior to beginning a session will always help keep you on track. Also embrace an adage by Robert Frost that ‘The best way out is always through’.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Scuba diving, entrepreneurship, golf and football.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I motivate myself by remembering that I have only so many days in my life to compete at a high level. Failing to make the most of each and every one is an insult to the family, friends, teammates, and coaches who have sacrificed so that you might succeed. Barring that, just remember that it could always be worse…you could be listening to Nickelback.


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