Graham Anderson's college choice shocked even his parents. They figured their son, who grew up in Weston, rowing for the Saugatuck Rowing Club in Westport and making only occasional forays into New York, would choose a leafy campus far from the bustle of city streets.
Anderson, a gold medal winner at June's USRowing Junior Championships in the 2x with teammate Max Meyer-Bosse, chose Columbia. "My parents weren't expecting that,'' said Graham, a 17-year-old senior at Weston High School. "They were expecting a more rural school, something like Cornell or even Yale, in a city that's not as big. It was a shock to my parents that I chose a city school."
Columbia's family atmosphere played a large part in Graham's decision. Also, his older brother will be moving to the city next year. As for competition, the Lions compete in the Ivy League against the top teams in the country. The school's business curriculum and availability of summer internships was also an influence. But his relationship with the team during recruiting was the determining factor.
"The team dynamic was for more unified than any other school that I visited,'' Graham said. "It's just like the kids I rowed with a Saugatuck. I wanted to keep that kind of relationship with my teammates for the next four years."
One of Anderson's rivals during his college career will be Meyer-Bosse. The Staples High senior will continue his career at Harvard. Anderson is looking forward to their competitions, wearing different singlets for a change. "The only thing I'm thinking is that I want to finish a little bit in front of him,'' Graham said. "I don't think it will have any impact on our relationship. We'll still come back during the summer and be friends."
There is still work to be done for Graham and Max at Saugatuck. They want to defend their U.S. title and get back to the World Junior team. "It's been pretty remarkable what we've been able to accomplish,'' Graham said.