May 8, 2013
This past week, senior javelin thrower Jordin Seekins, a featured UW athlete on Twitter, retweeted a post from NBA star and former Husky Nate Robinson that said simply "Heart Over Height". Seekins could obviously relate. Short but strong, she might not be able to dunk a basketball, but she can chuck a javelin half of a football field. Seekins, a native of Washougal, Wash. down near the Oregon border, has improved every year and climbed to No. 6 on the school's top-10 list with her career-best 151-foot, 3-inch throw in her last competition. She'll be heading to her final Pac-12 Championships this weekend and then head to a third straight NCAA West Prelims for a chance at the national finals, which would likely require another career-best throw Seekins knows she has in her. She talked to GoHuskies this week in-between practice and weights about her Husky career, taking a victory lap at Hayward Field, and ignoring her Dad's advice.
GoHuskies.com: So after training on it for a while now and competing once, what is your review of the new outdoor track?
Jordin Seekins: I like it; it's nice to train on your own track for once. After last year, having to drive to West Seattle, this is so much nicer. Training with everybody at the same time makes it a lot better, too.
GH: Has it brought the team as a whole together more?
JS: I think everybody gets along really well. The long distance girls actually are ones I've bonded with more this year. Katie Flood and I have gotten to know each other more this year, and Baylee Mires and I have always had a connection because our dads both went to Eastern. The vibe on the team this year has been good, I really enjoy everybody's company.
GH: You've had your last home meet now and Pac-12s are here again. Has it hit you that you're almost done?
JS: I think after the Dual I was like, "Oh no, I have just two meets left, and hopefully a third," so yeah it feels crazy. I couldn't have asked for a better senior season. I couldn't have planned it better. Coming up to Pac-12s and West Region and planning to peak for those meets, so hopefully it all goes according to plan.
GH: You've been close to scoring at Pac-12s, so what would that mean to you this weekend?
JS: At the Dual I kind of learned my lesson about getting too worked up. I'm getting better at being able to relax and feel my body more and feel the positions. Top-three at Pac-12s has been my goal since that started to seem like it could be a reality, and that's a pretty huge goal. I just have to try and keep my head on straight when it comes down to crunch time. I'm glad to be going back to USC. I know what the weather is like at certain times of the day and what's going to happen.
This program pretty much shaped me into who I am and who I probably will be for the rest of my life so I've been really lucky to be here.
GH: It seems like the javelin is one event where throws can really fluctuate from one to the next. What makes it so tough to get just right?
JS: It's complicated because sometimes certain body parts just don't want to work. Your hips have to work at the same time as your arm, and sometimes if you're not staying closed ... javelin throwers know what I'm talking about but you've got to get the biggest pull as possible. It's like a rubber band being stretched to its extreme, and the farther you stretch it, the farther you're going to throw, that's an analogy that a lot of coaches use in the beginning of their careers. But if a certain part's not working you can't get that stretch.
GH: So how are you feeling physically heading into these next couple meets?
JS: I feel really good right now. I haven't had a chronic injury this year so that's been really good. I've been staying relatively healthy, like my shoulder tendonitis was a big problem in the past, and my back was a problem last year, but this year everything's been working out well, and that's a big reason why I've been PRing. And just having more body awareness I think has been the biggest change.
GH: You've probably heard it a thousand times, but most people probably wouldn't think you're a successful javelin thrower based on your height.
JS: Yeah, I think people are always surprised when they see me throw, or even just standing out in the field. But in high school it was the exact same thing, like I haven't changed height since I was like 15. So I put it out of my mind, and I don't realize how short I am until I see a picture and suddenly realize, "Oh gosh I'm really small," but that's never been a huge factor. I just train my butt off and try to equalize myself with the people that are bigger than me.
GH: How much is pure strength and then how much is technique?
JS: Most of it is technique. You can be the biggest girl out in the field but if you have awful technique it's not going to go anywhere. So working on my technique over the last couple years, and working on my speed and rhythm, that's what's important for me because if I'm not going to be big I had better be technical.
GH: What first led you to pick up a javelin?
JS: I was a softball player when I was little, and then once high school came around I had to choose between softball and track. And track has always been kind of a family sport; my grandfather ran track in college, and my dad and mom both ran track. They were all runners, so that's the funny story. You were required to try a field event so I just tried javelin, and so I was doing okay my freshman year, and I think I hit 114 feet, nothing big, and my dad was saying, "You need to give up javelin, you need to be running, you'd be a better sprinter" which was not the case at all! So I kept with the javelin and got steadily better and senior year I hit a big one which got me here. I joked with him, "Dad, remember that time you told me to quit javelin?" and he said, "yeah, okay..."
GH: Was Washington always on your list of schools?
JS: I've always been a Washington fan since I was born. I thought it would be cool to go here, but then in high school I wasn't so sure anymore because I was a small town kid, so going to a big city didn't really appeal to me. I was all set to go to a small private school in Oregon, but then I started getting more offers for javelin. I got some advice from one of the teachers who actually used to be a professional hammer thrower, and he told me that I needed to take these offers really seriously. (Former Assistant Coach) Reedus had contacted him and so I just said "well, why not? I'll go to Washington, that'll be fun!"
GH: Are your parents able to see you compete a lot?
JS: Oh yeah, since me and my sister are out of the house, both my parents have traveled a lot, they went to Stanford and Oregon this year. They go to indoor meets even though I don't even compete (laughs). But they love to see me compete and I'm really glad to have them support me in all this.
GH: After four years is it harder or easier to do all the practicing and weight lifting and the daily grind?
JS: I like it more every day. It used to be more of a pain but now I revolve my whole day around practice, which is kind of weird because soon it's going to come to an end. But the more my career has gone on, the more I've just fallen in love with training and the sport itself.
GH: Do you know what you're hoping to do after college?
JS: I think I'll hopefully be having a physically challenging job. I applied to be a forest firefighter. So if that works out then great, and if not I'll have to find something else, but I should find out in the next week or two if that's going to happen. I think that would be a really fun job. I was thinking of what to do with my life, and I didn't really know, but I tried the Forest Service and looked at some of their areas. The fire service is pretty general and they like young people to do it. I've also talked with my Dad about the Air Force, so either way probably something physically challenging. And I could get more schooling done at the Air Force, which I think I need, to be more specialized.
GH: What will you be getting your degree in?
JS: American Indian Studies. People always give me the funniest look when I say that, because "What are you going to do with that?" But I just thought it was a really interesting topic, and I liked studying it so I stayed with it.
GH: You and Ally (Mueller) are the only upperclassmen in the women's throws group, so as a captain how much falls on you to help out the freshmen?
JS: I try to give as much advice as possible to them, because they've never really been in these situations before. I try to be really encouraging, but also realistic with them as well. We can be a good team, but we're not there yet. They had a few struggles but I don't think it's going to last for long. In the future I think these girls will be part of a really good throws group. They're learning what it takes to contribute and just kind of figuring out what you're good at is what college is all about after all.
GH: What do you think you'll miss the most about the student-athlete life?
JS: Probably just my teammates. We've all been really close the last couple years, especially the javelin seniors: me, Ally, Joe (Zimmerman) and Jimmy (Brookman). I love those people, they're the best part of my day. So that's what I'll miss the most. But I'm going to be involved with this program for as long as I live. I will always be a supporter, and of course I'll be a donor when I get any money to donate (laughs). This program pretty much shaped me into who I am and who I probably will be for the rest of my life so I've been really lucky to be here.
GH: What have been some of your favorite memories from competition?
JS: This year, winning Pepsi was really fun. For a while I was down on myself because I scratched a huge throw. But I got over it and I was like "Yeah, that was really cool." I can say that I took a victory lap at Hayward Field, which not a lot of people can say. Many Olympians have done that so I think that's really cool. Competing at the Dual Meet, I always loved it. I always get fired up competing against the Cougs. Even though I came in second to Anna, and we've been competing against each other for like six years, since we were in high school. But I think we make each other better because we don't want to lose to each other. But I think getting that PR to get momentum into championship season was really positive.
GH: And hopefully the best is yet to come!
JS: I hope so, too.