Senior Rower Leaves Legacy of Optimism

    She’s known as the smiley one, the optimist and the
    goal-setter. For UCSD women’s crew, Jennifer Myers has proved to be a valuable
    athlete and leader as the Tritons return from their fourth consecutive NCAA
    Championship trip with two silver plaques as National Runners-Up. As she is set
    for graduation next week, Myers looks back now on how the team’s visit to
    nationals has provided her with some of the best ways to remember her 2007-08
    season at UCSD. For Myers, that memory is made more special when she considers
    the Tritons’ hard work and ability to overcome some of the disappointment they
    experienced early in the season.

    “Everything
    was so amazing,” Myers said about the national championship. “It really was the
    best way to end my time here. It had been a long season for us and it got off
    to a pretty slow start, but nationals was an affirmation of all our hard work
    and the trust that we all have in each other.”

    Senior Jennifer Myers was named to the Division-II All-American team before helping the Tritons become National Runners-Up this season. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian)

    This season brought numerous honors to Myers as she joined
    the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s First Team and picked up three
    medals — gold, silver and bronze — for her stellar racing at the Pacific Coast
    Rowing Championships. Soon after, Myers received additional recognition as she
    was named to the Division-II Pocock All American Team just before learning the
    team would be making a returning trip to nationals to compete for the title
    from May 30 to June 1.

    Growing up in a small, ski-resort town in California,
    Myers credits the environment around Mammoth
    Lakes
    for fostering her athleticism
    as she took up mountain biking, swimming and hiking during her summers and skiing
    in the winters. In high school she became a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
    Junior Olympian. With such a sport-oriented background, it is a wonder as to
    how Myers chose crew.

    “Actually, I didn’t know I would pursue crew,” she
    said. “My freshman year I came down here
    and I wasn’t really looking at sports. Sophomore year I decided, ‘Okay, I’ve
    got to get on a team.’ I went to talk to [head coach Pattie Pinkerton] and she
    just totally convinced me. She said, ‘If you’re looking to be part of a team, this
    is the sport for you because there’s no other sport that is so team-oriented.’”

    That same year, Myers’ talent and atheticism became apparent
    as she captained the novice team and was named “most inspirational member.”
    Myers also found herself ranked first on the charts for UCSD’s All-Time Novice
    5000-meter and 2000-meter records.

    “It’s kind of a mindset that I have,” she said. “It’s not
    like you go into them expecting to break records but you’ve got to aim for it;
    otherwise, it’s never going to happen. I try to make every day an improvement.
    Any time we go out on the water or any time we get on the [Ergometer], I do
    have that mindset that I need to be strong for my teammates and that I do need
    to make the most of my time.”

    According to Pinkerton, Myer’s success is not only a result
    of her athleticism but also her outstanding work ethic, something the team will
    greatly miss next year.

    “I’ll miss her smile and her willingness to get out there,”
    Pinkerton said. “Her whole joyous approach to training. I could say that about
    all the seniors really, they’ve been wonderful, but with Jen I think that it’s
    her whole approach to training. She’s really raised the bar for the athletes in
    general because every time she goes out there and sets a new record. So in that
    sense, she will still be contributing after she’s gone.”

    According to her senior co-captain partner, Kali Webb, Myers
    has been invaluable to the crew’s morale.

    “Jen is the smiley one; the one who is always in a good
    mood,” she said. “We’ve complemented each other really well as far as our
    personalities go. It’s been really nice to work with her because she’s fun
    loving and optimistic. She never loses
    faith even when things look unlikely or difficult because she tells us, ‘We’ll
    get through this and well make it.’ I think that’s the greatest way she’s
    helped me and the rest of the girls on this team.”

    For the rowers, Myers’ presence has been welcoming and
    inspirational.

    “What I admire most about Jen is her ability to make
    everybody feel accepted and important,” said freshman Kristen Hayashi of the
    varsity-four boat. “The amount of trust and faith she has in our team, and the
    way she believes that we can do better in every single race is incredible.”

    After three years on the team and earning honor after honor,
    Myers’ duties as co-captain and racing seasons rich with athletic prowess have
    finally come to a close. Although the 2008 season may conclude her legacy at
    UCSD, her time as a rower will endure.

    “Definitely just recreationally I’ll get out there because I
    love it,” she said. “Being on the water is something I really enjoy.”

    In fact, Myers’ love for sports and her empathy for fellow
    athletes, is something that will aide her in the future as an aspiring physical
    therapist.

    “I injured myself in high school, so I spent some time in
    physical therapy and just really enjoyed how much patient-practitioner
    interaction there was,” Myers said.
    “That was really cool to me. Just being an athlete and loving to be
    active, I want to work with other athletes. I want to help them get back to the
    sports they love and get back to their teams.”

    Myers says that she has an appreciation for the amount of
    work athletes put into their sports as well as an affinity for being immersed
    in UCSD’s athletic department. With her lasting contributions to women’s crew
    and connections to her teammates, there is excellent reason to think that Myers
    will merge her superior athleticism with her ambition for helping others.

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