Spring sport spotlight: Kathryn Nash vital to Duke rowing's postseason success

Duke rowing took second place at the Lake Wheeler invitational.
Duke rowing took second place at the Lake Wheeler invitational.

As spring teams head into the postseason, the Blue Zone is here to shine a spotlight on outstanding athletes. Up next is rower Kathryn Nash:

Rowing is the ultimate team sport. The success of a crew depends on its ability to work together in perfect synchronicity. No one understands this better than recent graduate Kathryn Nash, who has been an integral member of the Duke rowing team for the past four years. With NCAA Championships quickly approaching, Nash has one last chance to lead her team to victory.

Duke rowing ended its regular season late last month at the Lake Wheeler Invitational. On par with previous performances, the team took home fourteen first-place finishes and ended the weekend second overall. This strong showing left the Blue Devils in prime position for the ACC Championships just last week, where they succeeded in defending their bronze finish from the 2023 season. In both regattas, Nash proved that her presence would not be easy to replace. In fact, her efforts in Duke’s Varsity Eight boat recently earned her a selection to the All-ACC Second Team.

That said, the recent graduate has had a hand in team success since she first stepped foot on campus as a freshman. In her career debut at the 2021 Carolina Cup, Nash helped the Varsity Four crew to a first-place finish. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native would go on to claim silver with the V4 at the 2021 ACC Championships, as well as a spot on the ACC Academic Honor Roll. From there, Nash only continued to improve. She made waves her sophomore season after being named in the ACC Crew of the Week for her role on the V8 boat that swept three races at the 2022 Oak Ridge Cardinal Invite. In her junior campaign, Nash competed in all eight regattas and continued her contributions to the V8 crew’s dominance. She ended the season with bronze medals in the V8 race at both the 2023 ACC Championships and the C Finals of the 2023 NCAA Championships.

Ahead of her final season in Duke blue, Nash was nominated and subsequently named to the Preseason ACC Rowing Watch List. Her performance so far has certainly lived up to expectations, with the V8 crew taking home first place at the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational earlier this season. In addition to being a reliable member of Duke’s rowing lineup, Nash has also been a leader for the team outside of the boat. Her hard work and dedication has set a standard for the program that will last for years to come.

Nash will end her senior season at the NCAA Championships next weekend in Bethel, Ohio. The V8 crew enters the championship as the No. 16-seed boat in a tough 22-team field, but it will no doubt put up a fight. For Nash, the weekend will also mark her fourth and final NCAA Championship — a fitting send-off for such an accomplished athlete.


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