Tom Mackintosh

Bcom 2019

Professional Athlete - Rowing New Zealand

2nd from left

Photo: Tom Mackintosh, 2nd from the left

How did your rowing career come about?

I started rowing in year 10. My main motivation was listening to my Dad talk about his days representing NZ – I loved his stories. I was fortunate to make the NZ Junior team at 17 and this fuelled my love for the sport! I had some success early on at Junior level, from there I continued through the national teams right up to Elite Level. I’m currently training for the Tokyo Olympics. Representing NZ at the Olympics has always been a lofty dream of mine. It became clear that to achieve this, rowing would be my pathway.

Looking to be a professional athlete, why did you make the decision to study at all?

I couldn’t let the students have all the fun! Leaving school most of my friends were heading to Uni, it seemed like such a blast and I couldn’t see myself not studying. Another factor was career options. Sporting careers are limited and often contingent on injury or non-selection. I’ll always back myself to make a team but in reality it’s better to have a backup plan. My degree serves as that.

How did you manage training and study at the same time?

I got really good at sleeping on my feet!
My schedule was 4:30am – 10:00pm, train in the morning and night, study during the day! Managing this came down to two things. Time efficiency and a great friend base. With limited time to allocate to study I had to make sure it all counted! Secondly, most of my friends could tutor in subjects I took, this helped a lot when it came to learning new topics! I’m forever grateful for their support.

Where do you hope to be in the next 5-10 years?

I think I’ll commit to another Olympic cycle. Paris 2024 would be an epic games! From there, I’m not too sure. I hope I could influence school leavers to continue sport after school. It opens so many doors and helps you explore other avenues of life. 

What is your favourite memory from your time at UC?

2015. Semester 2. Middle of winter. My flat of 9 boys decided to throw a Red Card. We had a pretty big party which resulted in getting to bed about 3am. My alarm was set for 4:30 and George (a great mate & rowing partner) picked me up for training. We were rowing on the Waimakariri river at 5:20am, pitch black, -7Deg, stars and moon still high in the sky! We were rowing and started slowing down dramatically. I told George to push harder, and he yelled back for me to push harder ! It was so dark we didn’t realise there was a king low tide and we had beached our boat. I got out of the boat into the freezing cold water and stood there contemplating life. It was about 5:40am, I was standing in the middle of this river (very hungover!) and freezing cold! I love this memory. It represents life as a student athlete and the balance between the two!