Olympia High School senior and OARS rower Ian Ballard is one of the boys high school team’s captains. Ballard recently won first place at the Head of the Hooch regatta in Tennessee as part of the U19 2- category alongside his double partner, Tyler Murphy.
Tell us little about The Head of the Hooch Regatta this year.
We were not expecting to win, because the team that won nationals last year was also there. But we beat them, so that was really cool. … We were just very determined this year.
Tell us about being team captain this year.
(I’ve been) trying to form the culture of the team — to leave it better than how I found it. I’m just trying to make the team more competitive … so, moving everyone into that direction (by) … helping motivate the younger guys. They are kind of the future of the team.
How long have you been rowing?
I started in January of my freshman year, and then the team got shut down a month after I joined because of COVID. I stuck with it through COVID, and it’s very interesting that I did, because I had only done it for a month. But I loved it, so I’m glad that I stuck with it now.
I played baseball for all of my life pretty much. I tried out for the high school team, and I didn’t make it because I was too weak. One of my friends … told me to join rowing to get stronger, and I could try again in the spring, for baseball. But I really liked (rowing) and being out on the water. It’s not relaxing, but it’s just really nice to be able to experience all that the world has to offer.
What do you love most about rowing as a sport?
How hard it is. You have to find a lot of strength within yourself to get through every workout. It’s just a game of proving yourself to yourself.
Have you played any other sports?
I’ve played a lot of sports. … I played soccer first, then football and then baseball for a while.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of your team?
Everyone is friends with (one another). When we are hanging out with someone, we are never hanging out with our school friends. We always hang out with our rowing friends, just because of kind of going back to how it’s very difficult. Everyone experiences the same thing, so it’s kind of on a deeper level. We have that respect with each other that we don’t really have with anyone else.
What do you believe makes you a unique rower?
Everyone here has the ability to do well and become a great rower. I’m not saying that I’m a great rower by any means. I just work hard, and I think that anyone who also works hard will succeed.
What has been the hardest skill for you to learn?
Rowing-wise, I had a technique issue that I’m still am very angry about to this day. … And about myself, that I have the ability to succeed.
What would you like to study in college?
My dad is an engineer, so I’ve been exposed to that my whole life. So (I’m very interested in) environmental engineering.
What’s your favorite hobby?
Rock climbing, I have a lot of fun with that. … If I was not rowing, that’s what I would choose to do.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” — it’s a great movie. I love the story and the animation style.
What’s a TV series you are binge-watching right now?
“Young Sheldon.” I get out of school a little early, and every day, I eat my lunch and watch (that series) with my mom. It’s really cool.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Spider-Man. I like how he does everything for the greater good and doesn’t focus on himself too much.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I want to fly. I feel it’s a basic answer, but I also feel it’s the best answer.
What type of music do you like to listen to?
I listen to everything, I like great music.
What are three places you’d like to visit? Why?
Alaska, because it’s very pretty. Italy — I don’t have a great reason for that one; I just want to go. And New York: I have to go there.
What are three things on your bucket list?
I want to rock climb in Colorado, I want to go to the Olympics, and I’d like to watch the World Rowing Championships in person.
What are three things you would bring with you to a deserted island?
I’d bring my best friends Owen and Tyler, a TV and all the Star Wars movies.
If you could be an animal for a day, which one would it be and why?
I would like to be a bird, because realistically I won’t be able to ever have a superpower so being able to fly is still at the top.
What color would you say represents your personality?
I’ll say green, it’s my favorite color but also I really like the outdoors and I think green is a very kind color and I’m always told that I’m kind.