May 14, 2013
By Taylor Dutch
Potential is powerful. It has led to shattered records, championship performances, and above all the confidence to achieve big goals. For Cal sophomore rower Christian Kader, the potential is unmistakable.
"Guys like Christian are exactly what we want: talented, tough, committed. We love kids like that. They're the ones that make it," said Cal head men's crew coach Mike Teti.
In February, Kader won the open event of the 2013 Crash-B World Indoor Rowing Championships. The race consisted of multiple competitors racing each other side-by-side on the erg, an indoor rowing machine used to simulate the action of watercraft rowing. Kader finished in a time of 5:52.1 to hold off European Indoor Champion Pavel Shurmei of Belarus who trailed with a time of 5:53.5.
Although his performance would suggest otherwise, the North Reading, Mass. native is still relatively new to rowing. In high school, Kader's primary sport was hockey, but he also played lacrosse, football, and cross country before picking up rowing his junior year.
"I miss being able to hit people, be physical and let my emotions rage on the ice (as a hockey player). But with rowing, if you want to make a boat go faster, you can't just try as hard as you can, you have to finesse the stroke. It's a very difficult thing to do," said Kader.
The first time he touched an erg, Kader broke his high school's watt test record, which caught the attention of the St. Paul's School's rowing coach. After convincing him to take rowing seriously, Kader was recruited by Cal and has been learning and growing in the sport ever since.
"He has unlimited potential because of how strong and tough he is," said Teti, "He can be as good as he wants to be."
During his first year at Cal, Kader rowed on Cal's freshman eight that came in second at the IRA National Championships and at the Pac-12 Championships. The same boat also beat Stanford in The Big Row.
The Crash-B Championships certainly proved that Kader has the strength to compete in the varsity eight, but more importantly, it showed that he has the dedication.
"He went on his own (to the Crash-B Championships), paid his own way. It just shows how committed and how serious he is," said Teti. "He left for the weekend for the competition and was back on Monday for team practice."
Since his performance, Kader has been considered a strong candidate for the top boat.
"Coach Teti has expressed that he wants me to be in the varsity eight. He's really taking the time to teach me proper technique," said Kader, "but I just need to step up to the plate and get there. I think I can but it's going to take a lot more skill."
Kader may still have more to learn when it comes to the skill of rowing, but he possesses the attitude of a veteran who's been in the boat for many years.
"You're competing with these guys and trying to beat them every single day, but I think it's good because that's life," said Kader. "You need to be able to compete against your best friends and keep a good relationship with them. That's what rowing teaches you."
Spoken like a rower who undoubtedly has a bright future on the water.