Anthony Fahden ’08 headed to London for Olympic Games
By Lilly Maguire , The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 13, 2012
Just 11 years after he started rowing, Anthony Fahden ’08 will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London this summer.
A northern California native, Fahden started rowing in 2001 for his local club team, the Oakland Strokes, before he was recruited to row at Dartmouth.
In a few short weeks, Fahden will be rowing in the lightweight men’s four event in London, sitting in the bow with three men he has trained with for the past year.
The team is composed entirely of former Ivy League lightweight rowers, with two rowers from Columbia University and a rower from Harvard University rounding out the team.
Fahden’s boat won the lightweight four event in the Olympic qualification race on May 22 in Luzern, Switzerland.
Despite the victory, Fahden said his boat has not yet discussed its chances at the Olympic Games.
“We prefer to take it race by race and focus on the task at hand,” Fahden said. “Before the heat in Luzern, we just talked strategy. We’re treating this like any other race, but the big goal is to make the A final and from there win a medal.”
Fahden chose to come to Dartmouth to row as a lightweight because he “felt that it fit best.”
In 2007, he was part of the team that won the EARC Sprints Championship, a victory that epitomized his successful Dartmouth career.
Fahden said his time rowing for the Big Green was “an absolute blast, with the highlight being [the] sprints victory, of course.”
He said he is still close to many of the friends he made on the Dartmouth team.
Teammate Emerson Curry ’08 agreed that their team was an enthusiastic group with big personalities that mixed well.
“We would have never gained the confidence or the humility to be successful without learning to trust and love each other,” he said.
Curry adds that Fahden was a fierce competitor at the collegiate level.
“Anthony was probably the toughest rower I’ve ever competed with,” Curry said. “He had no reservations about giving himself completely to a piece, on the water or on the erg. He did this consistently, and it demanded a higher level of performance from the rest of the us.”
Curry joked that Fahden’s sleep schedule may have been another key to his success.
“He slept a lot,” he said. “He also stole quarters out of my room to do laundry.”
Despite his success at Dartmouth, Fahden said he never considered competing at the national level until his coach suggested that he take an open spot at the under-23 national team camp.
“My coach came up to me my senior spring and said there might be some spots open at the U-23 camp,” Fahden said. “I didn’t really get an official invite—he said there just might be some extra space. He wrote me a recommendation and I just went.”
Despite his late entry into the camp, Fahden earned a spot to race at the U-23 World Championships.
With newfound confidence, he moved to Boston in fall 2008 to train for the next level of elite rowing at Riverside Boat Club. Fahden made the senior national team that fall and has been training with the team ever since.
“The goals happened little by little,” Fahden said. “You get better at a slow place and the better you get, the more opportunities present themselves.”
Rowing is an extremely physically demanding sport, requiring both endurance and immense strength and conditioning.
It is also one of the most mentally challenging sports around, yet Fahden said he has not lost his passion or drive for the sport.
“Early on in my rowing career in college it was more about the team and having fun, but the training gets more and more serious as you move on,” he said. “At the international scene, it’s really exciting to compete at the highest level. Every week is a challenge. I don’t think anyone enjoys the training, but we enjoy the challenge.”
Despite his proven athletic prowess, Fahden is modest about his accomplishments.
“When I was in high school, training in college seemed impossibly hard,” he said. “In college, the national team training seemed impossibly hard. On the national team, Olympic training seemed impossibly hard. Now I’m doing it. Eventually your body adapts and it doesn’t feel impossible as it used to. I was recruited to row at Dartmouth, but it happened organically. I didn’t really think I was going to row in college and I didn’t really think I was going to row on the national team — it just happened.”