Fisher rows for gold in World Championships

Published 4:02 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

By Scott Power

Reprinted from The Daily Post Athenian

Bainbridge natives, Harry and Kathy Fisher have a lot to be proud of. Their grandson, Kristopher Fisher will be participating in the 2018 Junior Rowing Championship. Kristopher, son of Harry Fisher, III now lives in Athens, Tennessee but wants to make his  parent’s hometown of Bainbridge and his aunt, Renee Fisher proud.

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Rowing athlete Kristopher Fisher was simply hoping to qualify for the U.S. Nationals, but what he achieved was even better than he could have dreamed about.

Fisher, 18, and his rowing partner, Cooper Tuckerman of Montana, earned a spot in the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships Aug 8-12 in Racice, Czech Republic during the U19, U23, Para and Senior Trials earlier this year.

“It’s better than in my dreams, to be honest,” Fisher said when asked about how he felt about qualifying for the worlds. “Six months ago I was sitting in the gym and making sure I could qualify for the U.S. Nationals. Then I went to the trials and I’m going to the World Championships. It’s really kind of surreal. I didn’t expect it to happen.”

Fisher and Tuckerman qualified in the U19 Double Skulls, which is a small boat with both rowers using a pair of oars, as opposed to the bigger boats with eight rowers often seen on television.

Fisher’s hometown is Oak Ridge, but he has spent a lot of time in Athens and still has family in the Friendly City. His parents divorced when he was young so he would spend every other weekend in Athens as this is where his father, Harry Fisher, and stepmother, Pam Fisher, reside.

He has also participated in several local charity triathlons and 5K’s in Athens.

Fisher grew up playing soccer, but later gave it up after injuring his shoulder.

“That summer, my mother told me I was going to get fat, I needed to do something,” Fisher said. “So she signed me up for rowing came and it turned out that I really liked it.”

As with most things, the more Fisher rowed the better he got so he decided to delve deeper into the sport, and now he’s going to the World Championships.

Fisher is training in Philadelphia and is a student at Temple University. Needless to say, there is big difference between Athens and the city of “Brotherly Love,” which, according to Fisher, Philadelphia doesn’t always show.

“People are are mean, people will curse at you,” Fisher said, only half joking. “If you leave something out people will steal it. I can’t go into a shop and leave my bike out for more than two minutes. So it’s definitely different.”

While he does enjoy being at Temple, where he is studying business, there are things in Athens and East Tennessee that are most definitely not in Philadelphia.

“Athens has a small town atmosphere I really liked,” Fisher said. “I love the change of pace (in Philadelphia), but there are things that I miss. The mountains are pretty far away here. The river here is really nasty, it’s really nothing compared to the Hiwassee and Ocoee.”

Fisher gets up each morning around 4:45, prompting him to get in a 90-minute workout before going to class. He then has a team workout after class and then he still has home work and class assignments.

The fact that his father served in the military — and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 and 2006 — and instilled that military discipline in the family has helped Fisher’s work ethic.

“The military ethic is very good for me as an athlete,” Fisher said. “Pushing yourself to the next level is definitely a good skill to have.”

While rowing may not look that difficult to some, Fisher said looks can be deceiving.

“From the outside perspective rowing looks really easy,” Fisher said. “Which, I’m not going to say its the hardest sport, but by comparison (in terms of cardiovascular exercise), one rowing race is like playing two basketball games back-to-back crammed into the time of the race, which is like 6 or 7 minutes.”

Fisher added that his race, the doubles, is an intense race with a lot of competitors.

“It’s a competitive race because every country has two guys and a boat,” Fisher said. “So it’s the most entered race at the World Championships. Right now I think there are 57 entries. For some of the bigger boats were only 13 or 12 so it’s a little bit different atmosphere.”

It’s also a race that the United States has not fared well in, with Fisher noting that 8th place is the best the U.S. has finished. Fisher’s coach said getting off to a good start over the first 500 meters, or the first quarter of the race, is important.

“We are in a position where not very many teams have done very well before us, so there isn’t as much pressure on us to do well,” Fisher said. “I think that will actually help us.”

Obviously, as part of the U.S. Junior National Team, he has a chance some day to make the U.S. Olympic squad, but he isn’t thinking too much about that yet.

“There is a long way to go to make it on the Olympic team,” Fisher said. “The fact that I am in the system is good so I am on the national team now. The next step is making the senior team. I think I am on the right track if I want to do that.”

And that would be the biggest dream of all.

In order to raise money for the trip to the Junior World Rowing Championships in Czech Republic, Fisher and his teammate, Tuckerman, created a GoFundMe account.

Those interested in donating can do so by visiting their page: