Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Prep rowing star follows sister's example

After his stellar years at Tampa Prep, Spencer Burdge will row for Stanford, where his sister Taylor also was a rower. She also graduated from Tampa Prep.

Courtesy of Bruce Burdge

After his stellar years at Tampa Prep, Spencer Burdge will row for Stanford, where his sister Taylor also was a rower. She also graduated from Tampa Prep.

TAMPA — Spencer Burdge was sure of one thing: He didn't want to row a boat.

No, Burdge didn't have anything against nursery rhymes but the last thing the then-incoming Tampa Prep freshman wanted to do was follow in his sister's footsteps.

Taylor Burdge, Spencer Burdge's older sister by four years, was a nationally decorated rower for the Terrapins. Spencer Burdge chose the land route, veering toward a future in tennis.

"Tennis was my thing and I didn't want to row because that was her thing," he said.

Burdge was good enough to make the Terps' varsity tennis team as an eighth-grader, but an injury prior to his freshman season set him down a different path.

"(Rowing) was just a lot more fun than I expected," he said.

Burdge also liked what it was doing for his physique. Before long, he was hooked.

"Between freshman and sophomore year I lost about 25 pounds because of it and turned a lot of fat into muscle," he said.

Now Burdge, who recently wrapped up a stellar career at Tampa Prep, will again follow in his sister's footsteps when he heads to Stanford to row for the Cardinal.

"It's an amazing setting to row and place to go to school," he said. "But I do remember explicitly saying I didn't want to go there because that's where Taylor picked."

Although the two sports are pretty different, Burdge said there is more in common between a tennis racquet and sculler's shell than one would think.

"In training, it's a lot of alone time and repetition in both sports," he said. "You keep doing the same motions and try to perfect them."

Burdge also said he likes the tangible link between hard work off the water and end result. Burdge holds five Tampa Prep ergometer test records.

"My coaches got angry at me on multiple occasions because I was training harder than they thought I should have been," he said. "I just kept working out extra and started beating all the seniors and team records by the middle of my sophomore year. It was working."

And in between, Burdge somehow found time to maintain a weighted 4.21 grade-point average and earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Less than 5 percent of Boy Scouts ever reach the prestigious level. For Burdge's service project as required for completion of the Eagle Scout badge, he organized 14 volunteers from Tampa Prep and a local Boy Scout troop to help rehabilitate four large shipping containers. Local rowing clubs used the containers to store equipment.

"He put in 11 years between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to reach that pinnacle of Eagle Scout," said father Bruce. "They are kind of teaching renaissance men who learn to do a little bit of everything from shooting guns, to electrical work to learning how trains operate."

And although Burdge never intended to follow his sister into the water or out to the West Coast, it seems to be working out just fine. And, of course, big sister reminds him of it every chance she gets.

"Yeah, she's pretty smug about it," he said. "But it's so far away and a different environment, it's a big advantage for her to have gone through it already. She's been a great role model."

Tampa Prep rowing star follows sister's example 06/28/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.