row2k continues our 2024 spring collegiate racing preview with an interview with Temple Senior Brandon Janse Van Vuuren. We chat with him on making his way to Temple from South Africa and being a contestant on Love Island.
row2k - How did you get your start in rowing?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - My English teacher was the head coach of rowing in my high school and long story short, if I came to try-outs, my grades would miraculously be higher.
row2k - You’re in your senior year at Temple, how did you end up there from South Africa?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - I met the coaches of Temple at Junior Worlds and when I came to Temple to visit I really liked the culture surrounding the team and having the opportunity to live in a city was awesome.
row2k - You raced and won a silver medal at the 2019 Junior World Champs, what was that experience like?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - The experience of racing at Junior Worlds was inexplicable, the rush of being surrounded by the best in the world is such an awesome experience. I haven’t experienced that feeling of racing at such a competitive level and being on the podium anywhere else.
row2k - This past summer you were a contestant on the reality dating show Love Island, what was that experience like and how did that opportunity come about?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - A friend and I thought it would be a funny idea to sign me up for the show as a joke and see how far I could get in the interviews and surprisingly I made it all the way. Once I had seen it did not conflict with rowing or any of my other obligations, I thought why not! I’m a huge fan of the show and it was a major bucket list goal of mine to be on a reality show.
row2k - How has your life different now after being on the show, and what do your teammates think?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - A lot of great opportunities have come out of being on the show but my life hasn’t changed all that much. Occasionally someone will recognize me and that’s always cool! My teammates were super supportive of me and they got a good laugh out of it.
row2k - What do you like most about the sport of rowing?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - My favorite part of rowing is the intensity of it. In my opinion, there is no other sport where you have to give your all at a consistent level and then figure out how to give even more at the end. It’s something only rowers really understand. The feeling of racing side by side with a crew until the finish line is unbelievable.
row2k - What has been your most memorable race and why?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - My most memorable race was the 2018 South Africa National Championship U19 8+. We were not favored at all to win that race and honestly we had a tough season results wise, but we trusted the process and ended up winning that race and it was a genuine shock to many.
row2k - You are a captain as a senior this year, how do you view that role within your team?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - I believe in Servant Leadership, my role is to help guys grow and develop not only in this sport but holistically too. I try to lead by example, whether that’s how things should be kept in the boathouse, to how workouts should be done.
row2k - What are you studying at Temple and do you have any plans for after graduation?
Brandon Janse Van Vuuren - I am currently studying psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice and Business. I plan on getting my Doctoral Degree in Child Psychology so I will be continuing my studies once I graduate from Temple.