Written by George Basile ’83, parent of Connor and member of UCI’s Parent Executive Board and Director at Large for Friends of UCI Rowing.

There are so many unique and interesting ways we as Anteater parents can engage with our children as they continue on their journey at UCI. Take my story.

Let’s start back in 1979 when I was a new student at UCI. I was a tall, gangly freshman; not too much to look at, but a group of students saw something in me. Next thing I knew, I was recruited to the UCI rowing team. And just like that, I had a new group of Anteater friends.

To this day, I have a special place in my heart for rowing. It is one of the few sports at UCI where you can come on as a complete novice and end up an elite. I rowed for four years, racing for west coast and national championships. My greatest memories from my college days often orbited around my time on “the crew,” as do many of my greatest friendships to this day.

I graduated with a degree in physics and went on to a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Rowing was a unique and foundational success platform. I still believe there is no better place to learn how to strive for and find excellence as a team.

Now, let’s travel back to today. My son, just finishing his sophomore year at UCI, is also on the rowing team. Although now supported through the UCI recreation department as a club sport, the team still trains and competes nationally like a varsity sport.

Because of dedicated people like men’s rowing head coach AJ Brooks, women’s rowing head coach Peter Vescovi, campus recreation director Greg Rothberg and Anteater club sports director Adrienne Buckingham, as well as loyal alumni, parents and friends, the rowing team has found ways to do more with less…and continue to win!

Home grown and home trained at UCI, they have gone on to receive West Coast and National Championships and All-American honors. No other sport at UCI has sent more athletes on to the Olympics to win Olympic medals than UCI rowing.

Earlier this month, the team flew to Henley-on-Thames, England and competed in the Henley Royal Regatta, the oldest rowing regatta in the world. More than 200,000 people come to watch this invite-only event. As a UCI dad and former UCI rower, I was able to support the crew as an assistant coach, cheering them on as they blasted their way around the Thames.

It was unbelievable!

Our team will not only bring this international leadership experience back to their fellow rowers and classmates, but they have left an indelible imprint on the international sports community in the UK and beyond.

It’s hard to believe, but there are now many more elite academic athletes who know that “Zot! Zot!” is the warrior cry of the fighting UCI Anteaters.

So, to all of you Anteater parents out there who wonder how you can engage with your children as they embrace all that they have to offer at UCI, I say this: Don’t worry! UCI creates many avenues for parents to grow along with their students and support success.

Whether it is through sports, the arts, academics, community engagement, leadership or innovation and entrepreneurship, UCI is always looking for new ways to build community between the university, students, parents and a growing network of alumni and supporters.

I never dreamed of sharing a passion for rowing with my son or watching him race along the Thames, but with UCI, who knows what you can – and will – do together!

Zot! Zot! Zot!

Original Article Published on UCI’s Connect website, here.

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