Recruitable Athlete Profile: Andrew Tokarski - Crew

Rowing is a unique sport; it demands incomprehensible levels of physical strength, mental strength, and endurance.

Rowing is a unique sport; it demands incomprehensible levels of physical strength, mental strength, and endurance. Rowers go through all of this while maintaining impeccable technique and remaining fully in-synch with the rest of their boat. Such a sport requires very special people who possess such qualities as well as the unstoppable drive to pursue excellence and improvement. Vice President of Academics and Boys Varsity Squash Captain Andrew Tokarski ’20 is the embodiment of the qualities demanded of a rower and, over the past several months, has been making serious progress that has caught the eye of several top rowing schools in the nation. Starting his rowing career as a rower for the Lawrenceville Freshman Boys Boat, Tokarski suffered a major setback that summer as he became critically ill, and he was confined to his bed for much of that summer. Having recovered and returned to campus that fall, Tokarski was unsure if he was going to even row again due to his sickness, and he did not attend the spring training trip in Augusta, Georgia, in the spring of 2018.

However, he made the team again and rowed the entire season in the Third Varsity Eight under Boys Varsity Crew Coach Noelle Niu. Tokarski made a major breakthrough in his 2,000 meter with a benchmark time of 6:43 on the ergometer gave him a huge boost of confidence. Boys Varsity Crew Coach Benjamin Wright P’10 ’21 put Tokarski in the Second Varsity Eight for the final two weeks of the season, including the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, which earned Tokarski a major L for the 2018 season.

In the last year and a half, Tokarski has made even more progress, improving his endurance and stamina. He has spent countless hours in the gym and on the ergometer, and hundreds of thousands of meters have been put down on the ergometer in his own time between the start of his sophomore season and his senior fall. “I just love being on the erg next to the guys... with the music blasting, the camaraderie that you build through training is unbelievable,” said Tokarski. Furthermore, Tokarski’s famous diet of peanut butter, of which he consumes one jar per week, supplements his intense training, and keeps his results on an upward trajectory.

Tokarski has been in contact with the coaching staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, and Columbia University, and each school has invited him to official recruiting visits to its campus and rowing programs, giving him an inside look at elite collegiate rowing.

As good as his prospects look, making the recruiting list and then the top lineups for the first and second varsity eights at these colleges is extremely difficult; Cornell and Columbia along with many other top rowing schools in the Northeast and California recruit internationally, which makes the field extremely competitive. Unfortunately, Tokarski’s current height of about 6’1” is not as advantageous as he would like it to be, as collegiate rowers are usually at least 6’4” to 6 '6". “Coaches care not only about your ergometer score, but also your potential to keep developing, and if you have the height, they prefer that,” said Tokarski.

In addition to his rowing aspirations, Tokarski’s involvement on campus in other areas is a testament to his qualities developed through rowing. As the Vice President of Academics, a Hutchins Scholar, and the Boys Varsity Squash Captain, Tokarski has a lot on his plate to balance. Even if he does not officially get recruited, Tokarski still has the potential to be a strong walk-on candidate at many of the top colleges he is applying to. If the opportunity presents itself, he will certainly continue to row in college.