As the University of Minnesota prepares for the championship spring season, gophersports.com and the rowing program would like you to get to know the rowers away from the water. Our first Gopher spotlight is senior Tracy Merth. Here's a brief question/answer session with the Mahtomedi, Minn., native.
Q: How did you get involved with rowing?
At first I got a little booklet from Madison and I thought it looked pretty cool, but I had never been interested in going to Madison, then once I started school at Minnesota I got a little flyer in my mail box and thought I would try it. So I went to the open house and haven’t looked back.
Q: Why did you choose Minnesota?
Having grown up in the Twin Cities area I had heard a lot about the U and it was the place I had imagined myself at. Plus family is really important to me and the U was far enough away from home that I was still on my own, but close enough that if I needed something or the family was getting together it was easy for me to go.
Q: What is your pre-race routine?
The first key ingredient is my socks. I have a pair of race day socks (That I do wash on a regular basis). After the socks are on I like to think about what is going to happen during the race. Knowing that it will hurt, and knowing that I can push through that pain and find that next gear is what it is all about. After that, once we are on our stake boat and ready to go, we “pound it” from the coxswain to the bow and back. Then it is time to race!
Q: What is it like living in a house with your teammates?
A blast! They definitely hold me accountable and make it way easier to get up and go to practice before the rest of campus is awake. Even though we practice together, eat together, and study together, we still enjoy each other’s company and want to spend time together. Who wouldn’t want to live with their best friends?
Q: What is your ultimate goal in rowing?
My ring finger looks pretty plain. I would love a little something to put on it that may or may not say Big Ten Champions. I would also love to go to the NCAA’s.
Q: Who is your hero and why?
My hero is Nana (my grandma). Nana was truly someone to look up to. Everything she did was for others, she loved her family more than anything, and I never once heard her complain.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time?? There isn’t much between school work and practice or races but when I do have a little time I usually spend it with my teammates, I just can’t seem to get enough of them.
Q: When you were growing up did you have a favorite athlete?
My favorite athlete growing up was Amanda Beard. She was an Olympic swimmer, and seeing as how I swam competitively from 5th grade up through my senior year, she was pretty much the coolest person ever.
Q: What is your favorite U of M tradition?
Hearing the cowbells at our races!! Thanks parents!
Q: What are the three most played songs on your iPod?
“Shark in the Water” by V.V. Brown, “White Blank Page” by Mumford & Sons, and “Call it Off” by Tegan and Sara; followed closely by “Warm Whispers” by Missy Higgins.