July 27, 2016

Princeton Alum Nase Making Olympic Debut at Rio After Moving Up the Ranks of U.S. Men’s Lightweights 


LIGHTING IT UP: Tyler Nase displays his form for the U.S. lightweight men’s four. Nase, a 2013 Princeton University and former star for the Tigers, will be competing on the lightweight men’s four at the Rio Summer Games next month. It will be Nase’s first appearance in the Olympics. (Photo provided courtesy of USRowing)

Tyler Nase was exposed to international rowing well before he started his career with the Princeton University men’s lightweight crew program.

The Phoenixville, Pa. native joined the U.S. national junior program in 2008, earning bronze at the 2010 Junior World Championships in the M8+.

Utilizing that experience, Nase ’13 enjoyed a solid career for the Tiger lightweights, highlighted by medals at the Eastern Sprints and Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta and titles at the Head of Charles.

After graduating from Princeton, Nase decided to test his skills at the highest levels of world rowing.

“My goal was to just see if I could make the national team,” said Nase, who served as captain of the Tigers in his senior season with the program.

“Once I got a feel for the national team, then it was putting my sights on Rio.”

Nase started training with senior men’s lightweights in Oklahoma City and worked his way up the ranks. He won a silver in the lightweight pair at the 2013 World Rowing Cup III and placed 15th in the lightweight pair at the 2014 World Rowing Championships. A year later, he moved to the lightweight men’s four and helped the boat take seventh in the 2015 Worlds.

“Over the last three years, it blows my mind how much technical progress I have made,” said Nase, reflecting on his growth as a rower since joining the national program on a full-time basis.

That progress landed Nase a spot on the lightweight men’s four that will be competing for the U.S. next month at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I was honored; this has been a big dream of mine since I was on the junior team in 2008,” said Nase, 25, who will be making his Olympics debut.

“I was just overjoyed; it was also very humbling because I train with this group and our group had about eight guys so that was the best day for me but also four other guys didn’t make it and it was very somber to be around them when they got the news that they weren’t going to go.”

Earlier this year, he helped the four take bronze at World Rowing Cup I as the team tuned up for the Olympics.

“The boat was newly selected so we had only been rowing together for about two weeks and our whole mindset was we are just going to go to World Cup I and see what happens,” said Nase. “It was a really good stepping stone for us.”

It has been good for Nase to be rowing on the boat with former Princeton teammate, Robin Prendes ’11, a 2012 Olympian who helped the lightweight four take eighth at the London Summer Games.

“It is really cool, I think Robin and also Tony (Fahden), he was in the 2012 Olympics as well, both bring a lot of experience,” said Nase of the four which also includes Edward King. “It has been learning a lot from them and working together.”

Nase will be working out of the stroke seat, responsible for setting the stroke rate and rhythm for the rest of the crew to follow.

“Right now I am sitting stroke; I love it,” said  Nase. “I like it when people need to depend on me. That is when I am doing my best; I think I can really contribute a lot to the boat there.”

As the boat headed to the familiar waters of Lake Carnegie in early May to go through its final training block before leaving for Rio this week, Nase saw it getting better and better.

“A large majority of our work this year has been focused on building a really good base, your endurance basically,” said Nase.

“Now that we are getting closer to the games, we are taking back the mileage a little bit and really upping the intensity these last eight weeks or so. Everything has been going really well. I feel good with how we are rowing; it feels confident and it feels really consistent.”

Nase also feels good about a key aspect of his sport, managing his weight. Under international rules, the rowers need to average out to 70 kilograms (154.3 pounds) and no rower can weight more than 72.5 kilograms (159.8 pounds).

“It is something I am used to; we have a really good support network and we work directly with a dietitian,” said the 6’0 Nase.

“Basically what we do is we find a comfortable weight to train at throughout the year and then as we approach competition, we go through an eight week process of cutting out a lot of fat in our diets. Our objective is to lose as much fat as possible while still maintaining the same muscle mass. I will train around 165 and then over the eight weeks before I will gradually come down around 159. I will sweat down the day of for the rest of the remaining weight I need.”

In Nase’s view, maintaining focus in Rio will help the boat contend for a spot on the podium in the Olympic competition on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon which begins August 6.

“The medal is definitely our No. 1 objective; I think we have trained the entire year with that mindset as well,” said Nase, noting that he isn’t overly concerned about polluted water the rowers may encounter in Rio, noting that USRowing has developed a protocol to help the athletes minimize contact with anything contaminated.

“I think we just need to go down there and put out our best possible race. We talk a lot about keeping things internal when we are at the Olympics and only controlling what we can control. For us, that is just maximizing how well we can execute. I think if we execute well, we will find ourselves on the medal stand.”

After the rowing concludes, Nase plans to soak up the scene in Rio over the second week of the Games.

“Once racing is over, I am really looking forward to experiencing the games,” said Nase.

“I will have a good chance to go see other competitions and I am also really looking forward to walking into the closing ceremonies.”

No matter what happens in Rio, Nase plans to keep competing at the international level.

“I will tell you that my gut says that I am having way too much fun to not continue rowing,” said Nase.

“I think if I do continue, I want to try to find some sort of a career that I can maintain remotely and get a little bit of work experience for the first couple of years.”