Boys Crew Captain Feature Sports Spring Sports

Co-Captain Kevin Guo’s Leadership is Defined by His Dedication, Patience, and Compassion

After qualifying for the Grand Finals in his Lower year, Andover Boys Crew Co-Captain Kevin Guo ’21 has remained an integral member of the team thanks to his work ethic. His love for being on the water with the team has kept him rowing and now as a co-captain, Guo imparts his wisdom of the sport and team culture onto the younger rowers on the team.


According to Jackson Wild ’21, Guo’s passion and dedication set an example for his teammates and are two of his greatest qualities as a leader.


Wild said, “Crew is a team sport and if one person is not into it, the whole boat feels it. When you see someone like Kevin who comes in every day ready to pull hard and consistently put in the work, it just makes you want to do that all the more. He is a great model for the rest of the team and what many people look up to and try to emulate, which is a great quality for a captain.”


Guo believes that this strong team connection and the importance of working together is what makes the team special, and is what Guo enjoys about being on the water every day. 


“Part of the crew culture is that everyone knows it is hard and you have to put in the effort if you want the results. I think the team has a lot of energy. It’s cool to get on a bus and go to the boathouse, have a good warmup and practice as well as talk to people outside of campus. I think it is really special because everyone has to put in the work as there is nowhere to hide in the boat, nowhere to hide in the water, and if you are out of time with the rest of the boat you will slow [everyone else] down significantly. Part of the team is that everyone has to be together and work on improving the same things in their boat if they want to get better. Thinking as an individual does not get you very far in crew, and that is something you find out pretty quickly,” said Guo.


According to Guo, his love for crew as well as his experience as a rower reflects in the hands-on way he carries himself as a co-captain.


Guo said, “I bring a good chunk of experience that people don’t have necessarily in the training aspect of crew. I think that I’m reasonably assertive and hands-on as a leader. I like to be doing the stuff with the crew and not just directing people around.”


Despite being an active, rather than a passive leader, Victor Tong ’22 notes Guo’s admirable patience and helpfulness. Tong believes that Guo’s compassion and individualized advice are some of the major contributing factors to the team’s success.


Tong said, “I remember one time, Kevin was the boat leader and while we were rowing we weren’t that set. However, he didn’t get upset and yell at us that this was, ‘unfixable,’ instead, he gave us tangible advice such as raising our handle a bit more, keeping the time, [and] overall he was really patient. He made sure that the feedback was directed to an individual in a positive way so that they could grow from it and not feel discouraged. At the end of the practice, we were doing a longer piece and we were able to keep in time and stable, and part of that came from his ability to lead and guide the boat and crew.”


Along with his positive mindset and helpful attitude, Guo understands that the time commitment for crew is a big obstacle for many rowers. According to Guo, he has been committed to improving efficiency during practices.


“One of the biggest issues with crew is that we have to get on buses and get there, which burns like 45 minutes and practice is another two hours. It is a big-time commitment and any time that you spend dilly-dallying at the boathouses is time that could be spent back home getting more work done. For example one of the things I’ve improved is getting oars down. Typically there are six boats, so 48 oars. In previous years there was a free-for-all getting all the oars, which caused some clashing. [But now], I’ve gotten people to take the oars down one by one in a sort of line. Another thing is that our warmup used to be very long, but I’ve managed to shorten it down with the other captains,” said Guo. 


Guo will continue his crew career at Massachusetts Institute of Technology next year.