row2k Features
Villanova's Eduardo Zatti
February 28, 2024
Erik Dresser,

Zatti racing at HOCR

This week row2k continues our 2024 spring collegiate racing preview with an interview with Villanova rower Eduardo Zatti. We chat with Zatti on finding his way to Philadelphia from Brazil, surfing, running marathons, and more.

row2k - You started rowing as a novice at Villanova, what was your athletic background prior to enrolling and how did you end up in Philadelphia?

Eduardo Zatti - Prior to joining the rowing team, I was a tennis player in my home country, Brazil. I played competitive tennis for most of my life, but eventually I had to decide whether I wanted to focus on my tennis career or on my academics. I ended up choosing the latter. At first, it was hard for me not to have a sport where I could challenge myself. I eventually found another passion, surfing.

I had been a fan of the water and the ocean since very young, and I would surf occasionally, but after stopping tennis I became obsessed with it. And this was only enhanced during the pandemic as I found refuge in the sport and the people around it. I realized that I love being surrounded by nature, and that it's energy served as fuel to me. Surfing taught me valuable lessons and conditioned me to become a better athlete. So, whenever I go home, one of the things that I look forward to the most is surfing.

At the same time that I was changing my athletic focus, I was devoting larger amounts of my time to studying, and because of my focus I was able to apply to universities in the United States and Europe. After analyzing my options, I found that Villanova was the perfect fit, as it combined a great community and academics. I found Philadelphia to be a great location because there are a lot of companies and cities in the area, and therefore more opportunities after graduation. Lastly, there are many airports in the area which makes it easier to access.

row2k - How did you find your way onto the rowing program?

Eduardo Zatti - It is a funny story, because I barely knew about the sport then, and since in Brazil it is not a popular sport I had never tried it. I was walking around an activities fair here at Villanova, and I saw that the rowing stand had a challenge where you had to row exactly 100 meters. One of my friends was at the stand, so I walked up there, and he invited me to try the challenge. I did not succeed, but I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the sport.

Later, I was invited to go to a practice and I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. At the time the team was still practicing on the ergs, which in retrospect was great for easing myself into the motion of the sport. After that I felt that I had found another passion in rowing, and it was different than the sports that I had previously engaged in, namely it required extreme cooperation and teamwork. I had found a new challenge.

Zatti at Philadelphia Marathon
Zatti at Philadelphia Marathon

row2k - You’ve run the Philadelphia marathon, what was that experience like and how does a marathon compare to a long row?

Eduardo Zatti - I always had this desire to run a marathon and see what it was like, in other words, it was on my bucket list. Last year, two of my friends decided to run it and invited me, and I thought, why not? So, I signed up to run the marathon with them. Leading up to it I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to complete such an achievement. Due to rowing practices, I wasn’t able to train much for this race. But I told myself I would do whatever it took to finish it, and I started to slowly remove the questions from my head and focused on what I had to do to accomplish my goal.

All and all it was an awesome experience, and it was one of the most challenging physical activities I have ever endured. I believe that the marathon compares to a long row in terms of the mental strength required to push through the physical pain and embrace the discomfort. But I will say, I never experienced anything like it before. It taught me a lot of things about myself and how far I am able to push the limits.

row2k - What do you like most about the sport of rowing?

Eduardo Zatti - My favorite thing about rowing is the synergy between my teammates and I, as well as between the crew and the nature around us. I love the fact that we have to work effectively as a unit and that everyone’s input is important in moving the boat faster. I am very grateful for the teammates that I have and the culture that we have built on our team. They have helped and motivated me through tough times, and that camaraderie is something that I value and have come to love about this sport.

row2k - What has been your most memorable race so far and why?

Eduardo Zatti - My most memorable race so far was the Head of the Charles in 2023. It was my first time both at that race and in Boston. I was marveled to see all those incredible rowers competing against one another. It was very special to be part of such an amazing event. I was able to learn many things from both my teammates and competitors. It is something that I will never forget.

row2k - What are you studying at Villanova and do you have any plans for after graduation?

Eduardo Zatti - I am a junior computer engineering student with a minor in cybersecurity. Currently I do not have any plans for after graduation. However, I am open to opportunities in the United States, in Brazil, or Europe. I don’t know what the future holds, but I look forward to the challenges that it may bring.

Zatti with teammates at HOCR
Zatti with teammates at HOCR

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