Providence, R.I. - Senior Gavin Crynes has been a key component of the Brown men's crew throughout his career, with highlights including an IRA silver in the freshman eight and an EARC gold and IRA silver in the second varsity eight. He has been equally impressive off the water, where he was awarded the 2009 Derek Canfield Barker Prize, given annually to students who have shown qualities of leadership, triumphed over adversity, and who have worked to bring the Brown community together through community service. Recently Gavin took the time to answer several questions about his time at Brown.
1. What was your athletic background in high school? How did you get started with crew?
A: I have been a swimmer all my life, so that was my main sport in high school. I also dabbled in cross country, but am a better runner now than I ever was in high school. I got into rowing my freshman year because I wanted to try something different and I had a few friends who were doing it. I have to admit that I didn't fall in love with it immediately, but by the end of high school I was having a lot of fun competing, and now I can't think of myself without it.
2. You were one of only two students to be awarded the Derek Canfield Barker Prize in 2009. What did that honor mean to you?
A: I was very surprised and honored in receiving the Derek Canfield Barker Prize. The award honors Brown athletes who are involved in the community. I love going down to the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School every week and helping out with Ms. Fish's fifth grade class. It is awesome to see their enthusiasm and wit every Friday, and we have a lot of fun.
With my athletic commitment, I am not as involved with the community as I would like to be, but in receiving the award it made me think of all the people at Brown, and everywhere, who do amazing things in their communities but are not recognized. I aspire to be more like those people when I graduate from Brown.
3. What is your favorite Brown rowing memory, and why is it significant to you?
A: My favorite Brown rowing memory, probably similar to a lot of people on the team currently, was at the Eastern Sprints Championships last year. Brown swept the 2F, 1F, 3V 4+, JV and Varsity races and everyone had amazing performances. All of the boats had great, tough races that they will remember individually, but my favorite part of the day was watching the final race of the day, the Varsity 8+ race, from the beach. As the race came to last 200m, the Brown and Harvard boats were even, but Brown had a little movement forward. I saw that movement and started sprinting down the beach jumping and yelling my head off. I saw other Brown rowers along the beach and they joined in the sprint down the beach towards the finish. The Brown Varsity 8+ won by about three seats. The elation I felt when they raised their hands in victory as they crossed the line is something I will never forget. I have never been so proud to be on a team.
4. What other activities are you involved with at Brown?
A: Aside from crew, I do research in Tom Robert's muscle mechanics lab. The lab does a lot of experiments with turkeys running on treadmills and jumping frogs, which I helped with over the summer, but currently I am working on my own artificial muscle project. As I mentioned earlier, I volunteer at the 5th grade class at Fox Point, which is always fun. Also, freshman year, I started a non-traditional a cappella group with some of my friends called AWKappella. None of us are very good singers but we try to do fun, creative renditions of any and every song (we take requests...no guarantees though).
5. Your twin brother, Christian, also rows for Brown, and you are often pairmates in the varsity 8. Did the two of you know that you wanted to go to school together, or did you each choose Brown more independently? What has it been like to row with him over the last four years?
A: My brother, Christian, and I really liked the team and school at Brown (we both have "surprisingly" similar interests...identical twins, go figure...). But training with Christian is incredible. He is the ultimate training partner - he never backs down, always is on his game, and always surprises me. He has taken things to a new level this year, but I love trying to chase him down and find new ways to go faster.
Pictured above: Gavin Crynes '10 (center)