FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – For four-and-a-half months, Nick D’Ambra and Carson King had a goal.
“Specialists, we’re just kinda looking for extra work to do,” said King, a senior punter at Fresno State. “We’re not exhausting ourselves at practice all the time, so I think they just figured we were getting some extra work and they were totally cool with it.”
Extra work, with a twist.
King and D’Ambra decided to challenge themselves, to row with a purpose.
“Our aim was really high. We wanted to do the Nile River,” smiled King. “We broke it down, did the logistics of it, it would have taken…doing a reasonable amount of meters a day, it would have taken over three, four years.”
That would have been a bit ambitious.
The Nile River is more than 4,100 miles long. The San Joaquin River, at 366 miles, was more manageable. It was, however, still challenging.
“Yeah. I was like, ‘okay, are we really gonna do this? And he’s like yeah, let’s do it,'” laughed D’Ambra, a senior long snapper for the Bulldogs. “So the first couple of days I still had my reservations, and then we started really kicking it into gear, doing this five days a week. And I was like, ‘okay, we’re serious. We’re really gonna do this.'”
They began in the spring. There is only one rowing machine in Fresno State’s weight room, so Nick D’Ambra and Carson King took turns. They each tried to row approximately 4-5,000 meters per day, 10,000 meters total.
“I have a notes app in my phone, so I’ve been keeping track of all the meters we have,” said King.
Added D’Ambra, “Gotta get in a rhythm. Gotta let the arms go before the knees so you’re not having, like, a rainbow technique. You just kinda gotta work on your breathing and having a good flow the whole time rowing the river. Some people thought we were crazy because it’s an everyday thing.”
And, remember, this is extra work. They still had to practice, and they still had to work out.
“More days than not we were not looking forward to getting on the rowing machine,” said King. “So it’s kinda just one of those things where you want to finish something you started.”
They did, during the first week of fall camp.
“Huge sense of accomplishment, because it’s the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in terms of, like, a workout challenge,” said D’Ambra. “Felt really accomplished, really cool. Might make some t-shirts saying I rode the San Joaquin River.”
“That’s my long snapper, we gotta have that chemistry,” said King. “I trust him, he trusts me. So I just wanted to have him along my side when we were doing this challenge.
“There have been talks of doing a new challenge on the VersaClimber, going to Mount Everest on the VersaClimber. We will see if we get around to it.”