Q&A with Nancy Arrington
After completing her first semester at the University of Texas, freshman rower and Georgia native Nancy Arrington is looking forward to a challenging spring semester. Though modest about her abilities, this freshman has a competitive edge that has helped her excel and become one of the top rowers on UT's young squad. As Arrington prepares for an intense spring racing season, she sat down with TexasSports.com to discuss how she made her way to the Forty Acres and her expectations for the upcoming season.
How did you get into rowing? When I was younger my father and I watched rowing in the 1996 Olympics, and I thought it was a cool sport. I talked to my dad about it and said, "That would be cool to do some day, but I wouldn't do it competitively." Later, my dad was at a church party talking with a friend who had a son involved in rowing. At the time I was a 5-10 eighth grader, and when my dad's friend saw me the next week, he signed me up to row.
Did your dad row or play any sports in college? He was an athlete in high school but didn't play in college.
A lot of rowers have very diverse athletic backgrounds and played other sports prior to rowing. Do you fit in that category? When I was younger I played a lot of sports. I was on the swim team, ran track and played soccer and softball. I was never really good at any of those sports though, and I was always the girl who filled in the extra spot. However, I was actually pretty decent when it came to rowing, so I stuck with it.
In your opinion, what is the hardest sport you have played? I would say rowing is the hardest sport I have competed in, but that's because it's the only sport I've played at the highest level. At a higher level, you have to push yourself that much harder. I don't think rowing is any more difficult than other sports; it just depends on the level of competition.
As a freshman, you've been in the top boat almost every race. Were you surprised by your boat placement this year? Yes. I didn't really expect that, but I think it's worked out pretty well. The learning curve is a lot higher when you compete with people who have been rowing for years, so it's easier to catch on. I didn't expect to be in such a competitive boat as a freshman, but I'm excited to get this opportunity so early in my career.
How would you describe your freshman year so far? It was a big change, but not as drastic as I thought it would be. Being a part of UT Rowing has definitely eased the transition. College has been fun, and I really like going to class and listening to my professors. It's also a very interesting experience living in the dorms, meeting new people and being close to your friends all the time.
As a student-athlete, you have days crammed with classes, practices and studying. How do you manage such a busy schedule? I wake up at 5:15 every morning, so I can't stay up until 2 a.m. to get my homework done. I like having practice in the morning, and I'd much rather get my work done and go to bed early.
What are you looking forward to most about the spring racing season? I'm ready for the pace to pick up compared to the long races we have in the fall. It's so fast-paced, and at the end you're absolutely exhausted, but it's so much fun getting to the end.
Are there any crews you're looking forward to racing? I'm definitely excited to see the girls that I met this summer when I went to U.S. Junior National Development Camp and Selection Camp. I made a lot of friends there, and it was cool because I met people from all over the country. During the fall races, it was fun to see my friends from camp who now row for Duke and Virginia.
What are your goals for this semester? I am taking a harder course load this semester, so I want to do well in school. In regards to rowing, I want the team to gel together as we make some final adjustments for the spring. I'm excited about racing season and seeing what our young team can accomplish. I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen until we actually race, so I'm excited to see how well we compete.