Keeping it in the family – the Chuter brothers
17/08/2012 - 11:30:00
Rowing runs in the Chuter family. Anne Chuter (nee Benton) has rowed at the elite level, her daughter Charlotte raced for the USA in the four at the Junior World Championships in 2006 and her other two daughters also row. Now it is the turn of her sons, Benton (Ben) and John, to take the stage.
The twins, who are both representing the USA in the junior men’s four at the 2012 World Rowing Junior Championships, were first introduced to rowing by their mother. She has since taken a back seat though, supporting them from behind the scenes. “She used to be more involved, she’s very supportive all the time, but now she lets the club coaches do their job and is there with food and water and that kind of thing” says Ben. “She’s always supported us to try hard but she has never pressured us to do anything,” adds John.
It is evident that there is a healthy rivalry between the two boys, “Of course there is a rivalry between us. I’ve definitely benefited from competing with someone who is almost as good as me,” jibes John. And he has been the stronger of the two, winning junior national trials with another rower. He was originally due to race in Plovdiv in that combination until his partner got sick so the next best pair was entered in that boat class. A round of seat racing him placed him in the middle of the coxless four with his brother.
Ben explains why the combination works; “Rowing is about unity and trust. We know each other very, very well, so we definitely trust each other to push ourselves to the absolute limit, and naturally we are the same build because we are brothers so we also match up in that way”. Perhaps it is this trust that has led to the success of many twins in the sport, for example the Evers-Swindell sisters (New Zealand, Olympic Champions 2008, women’s double sculls), the Winklevoss brothers (USA, Olympians 2008, men’s pair) and the Landvoight twins (GER, Olympic Champions 1976 and 1980, men’s pair).
The boys are aware that there is some way to go before achieving the success of their twin rower predecessors. They are not particularly satisfied with their performance so far, believing they can go faster, but at the same time they are very respectful of the high standard of rowing at this regatta. However they still have plenty of time to improve as neither John nor Ben will stop while they love the sport; both intend to keep rowing when they go to Stanford University this year to study engineering and medicine respectively.