Former Hobart College rower Kent Smack '97 recently earned a berth in the Athens Olympics as a member of the U.S. Men's Quadruple Sculls. On June 15, he stroked the Americans to a second place finish in the 2004 Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.
With teammates Brett Wilkinson (Hyde Park, N.Y.), Sloan DuRoss (Old Orchard Beach, Maine), and Ben Holbrook (Hartland, Wis.), Smack had one chance to qualify for Athens. With only six boats entered in the men's quadruple sculls there were no preliminary heats allowing teams to feel out the field and test their speed.
“Six months ago, none of us had ever rowed together,” Smack, a native of Clinton, N.J., said in a postrace press conference. “…We worked very hard on our start and the first 1,000 (meters). By the time 1,000 came around, we really felt we controlled the race (for a qualifying spot) and that we could take it home from there.”
The Americans challenged the quadruple from Ukraine through the first 1,000 meters and cruised home in second, posting a time of 5:56.30, more than five seconds ahead of the third place boat from Belgium. Ukraine finished first in 5:51.03.
Talking about the final 250 meters, Smack told NBC's Yasmin Farooq, “I felt like we were packing our bags for Athens. I had confidence we were gonna take it right into the finish, and I felt like we prepared as well as we ever could.”
An anthropology and sociology major at Hobart, Smack joined the Hobart crew after realizing he would sit the bench for the Hobart lacrosse team. He served as a crew team captain and helped the Statesmen to the 1996 New York State Championship. Smack points to former Hobart Head Coach Jim Joy as the most influential person in his rowing career.
Currently living in Cambridge, Mass., with his wife, Amy Wettergreen Smack WS'96, Kent is a consultant for Balance Scorecard Collaborative Inc.
A two-time U.S. National Team member, Smack will make his first Olympic appearance when the men's quadruple sculls heats begin on Aug. 15, at the Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre. The repechages will be held on Aug. 17, with the semifinals on Aug. 19, followed by the finals on Aug. 22.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum, but maintain separate dean's offices, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions. Hobart and William Smith field 22 intercollegiate varsity teams. Over the past 30 years, the Colleges have captured 20 national championships and dozens of conference championships.