March 12, 2012
As we approach the spring racing season, senior oarswoman Adriene de Leuw - a GoHuskies.com correspondent - will sit down with one of her teammates each week to discuss the upcoming year, as well as their backgrounds/personalities. Next up is Kelsey Jackson, a junior from La Jolla, Calif. Jackson has developed as a reliable coxswain under the tutelage of Bob Ernst, evidenced by leading the Husky 2V8+ boat to a win in the petite finals at the NCAA Championships last year.
How did you first get into rowing/coxing?
Jackson: My sister started rowing her first year of high school and she got my mom to do Masters. I was a soccer player but didn't want to play on my high school team. So my sister said "oh, you should try rowing" and I went out and loved it. Then I wanted to go to UW and I knew I was too small to row, so I switched to coxing my senior year of high school.
Why did you choose UW?
Jackson: When I first started rowing I was a freshman (at La Jolla) but I rowed with varsity a lot and the varsity coach, Dana Ryan, went to UW and was a women's team coxswain for four years. She really talked it up and she coxed right after the era where they won it for like five years in a row; she was sort of dissatisfied because during her years they were getting second and third. She was all about how awesome UW was and how they were the reigning power in the NCAAs so I really got it in my head that UW was the place to be.
What has been your favorite race?
Jackson: At UW I'd say it was our last race in the JV last year when we won the petite. It was exciting because that boat line up had been changed so much and so frequently that there was a lot of....you know we believed in ourselves and we believed in the boat, but there was a lot of doubt as to how we were going to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish because we hadn't really been in the lineup long enough to feel super solid. The first couple of races were okay, and each one became better and then the final one we had an exact plan where we knew we were going to get dropped a little bit at the start but we were going to have to stop them at a certain point because if we let them keep moving it would be all over. And we went out and did just that. We got dropped about four seats and I was like, "okay we have to extend the blades" and we held them for awhile and then we walked through them. It was us versus Princeton which is always exciting. And then my favorite race ever, which was so long ago, I was a rower in high school and we were a lightweight four and we went to Head of the American and we started after a bunch of collegiate fours. We were second in our starting lineup and we ended up finishing in the middle of the race in front of us, so we felt pretty awesome.
Jackson: That's hard. Last quarter I took Abnormal Psych and I think that was my favorite so far. My teacher was amazing, I loved her, I want to be just like her! It was just everything you get into psych to learn about, at least for me. It was the really interesting stuff like why it happens and how it happens and what we can do to fix it. (Psych and French major)
Favorite place to go in Seattle?
Jackson: I live by Magnuson Park this year and I find that I really like it there - but it has to be sunny. And if it's raining, I like never go but it is my favorite place, it's across the bridge, on Eastlake it's this bakery, Le Fournil, and I went with my mom the very first time I came to Seattle for Head of the Lake in high school. They just have really good coffee and it always smells good. I don't go very often, but I'm happy when I'm there. And as weird as it is, I really like hanging out in the dining room at Conibear, windows for days, and I text my parents every time ... studying!
Thoughts on 2012 season so far?
Jackson: So far, I think it's been a huge step in the right direction for the whole program, and it seems like everyone is so positive and dedicated and present every day. I mean, it's only my second year on varsity so I can't really say but it's a huge difference for me from last year. I feel like personally I'm so much more willing and excited to be here than last year so that's exciting. I think we're shaping up in all the right ways.
What are you looking forward to the most this season?
Jackson: Kicking butt! I'm most looking forward to just surprising people. No one expects a lot from us based on past performance, we're always a middle of the pact contender, but no one has their eyes on Washington this year. A big threat and I think it's going to be exciting if we can go out and do that this year.
Plans for after graduation?
Jackson: I've always wanted to move to France for a couple years and sort of just live there, a sort of two year thing. I'd like to experience a different country and come back and start more of a career here. As far as what I want to do, it changes all the time. I've always wanted to work with people so I feel I may go into teaching elementary school or some sort of educational system.
One thing to tell teammates?
Jackson: Keep the big picture in mind. Day-to-day can be a real grind. It can be hard to stay motivated but not if you keep thinking about what we're here for everyday, and not only that, but what we're doing for Washington rowing. If we do succeed at turning things around this year, which I think we can, the kind of expectations will be behind us are bigger than what a lot of us think about on the daily...turning the history towards what we want.