April 30, 2008
Ashley Jones enters her fourth and final Windermere Cup this weekend on the Montlake Cut. The senior will be looking to help the 15th-rankied Washington women's varsity eight top Melbourne University and Navy.
The 18-race Windermere Cup Regatta starts, Saturday, May 3 at 10:20 a.m.
GoHuskies.com caught up with Ashley this week.
GoHuskies.com: How are things going so far this year?
Ashley Jones: "So far they're going okay. We're really coming together as a team. We're a young team and Bob Ernst is a fresh coach this year so I think that he is figuring us out. We had a great start in San Diego. Even though we've had a couple of losses in the varsity boat along the way we are improving as a boat."
GoHuskies: What did the win in San Diego show you?
AJ: "We've got a lot of drive and determination. We all know what we want. We've done it and we just have to come together as a team and do it again. It is completely doable."
GoHuskies: How have things been different under Coach Bob Ernst this year?
AJ: "There's a lot of admiration for Bob and a lot of respect for his coaching style. The biggest difference, I feel, is his program. It is a really solid program day in and day out. There is a lot of trust and belief in his program. He has a past with the men's team and the Olympic team and we know he's a great coach and we can see it with his coaching style."
GoHuskies: What do you remember about your first Windermere Cup race?
AJ: "I was a freshman and a walk-on. I had no idea the level of excitement. The fans and the boats along the side with the cowbells and the people screaming for you as you row by. It's really exciting. The biggest thing I remember is I couldn't hear the coxswain coming through the cut. She had practiced banging on the side and I didn't understand why we were doing it. I realized it on the day of the race.
GoHuskies: Was it difficult to concentrate on rowing with all the distractions?
AJ: "I think as a freshman I did lose focus. I was overwhelmed with the all the people and the excitement. I'm sure I was paying more attention to people cheering rather than rowing. As I've gotten older it is easier to focus on the coxswain and rowing."
GoHuskies: What drew you to the rowing program at Washington?
AJ: "I did track and volleyball in high school. I knew that volleyball wasn't going to be something I was going to do at the Division I level. I had already been accepted to the University of Washington and was really interested in nursing at the time. I just couldn't give up a team sport so I knew I was going to come out for the track team or something. I was at the Dawg Days event for freshmen and saw this big long boat and these girls handing out flyers. I came to the first practice and was hooked."
GoHuskies: How long did it take you to get comfortable in a shell?
AJ: "The first day we weren't in a single shell, we practice in the barge. I was confused because I thought that was the boat. It took me probably a month to get really comfortable in just an eight shell. I was really excited being in one of the top boats as a freshman. I had the right build and I'm pretty strong, but I didn't really think long term. I remember as a freshman being scared to come up to the varsity team because I thought they were too intense and take it to another level. I was very intimidated. But the transition was smooth and it's been fun."
GoHuskies: What is something about rowing that surprised you?
AJ: "When I would see rowing it just looked so graceful and it is. But it is painful and that is something that I didn't realize until my very first 2000-meter race. It is a great pain that you long for every time you are at the starting line."
GoHuskies: What would you tell a prospective rower?
AJ: "It sounds hokey, but the only time success comes before work is in the dictionary."
GoHuskies: How are things going for you academically?
AJ: I'm majoring in Public Health and I'm graduating this spring. I'm headed to grad school at the University of Washington next fall in social work.
GoHuskies: Thank you for your time and good luck Saturday.
AJ: "Thank you."