No. 15 OSU Battles No. 1 Cal, No. 4 Stanford This Saturday

April 16, 2003


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MEET LYNN SIMMONS: Lynn Simmons is a senior coxswain in the varsity eight boat for the No. 15 crew in the country. She was named team captain this year after directing the second varsity eight to a successful season last year, including a second-place finish at the Pacific-10 Championships last spring.

The 2002 Pac-10 All-Academic first team selection hails from Lakeview, Ore., in the southeastern part of the state, where she grew up on her parents' ranch. Lynn is double majoring in Agricultural and Resource Economics as well as Agricultural Business.

The following is a question and answer session with Lynn before a recent practice:

Q: Being a senior and the team captain, does this year have more importance to you than years past?

A: 'For sure. Being a team captain is a huge honor. Being a senior and never having gone to Nationals puts a little more press on the situation. Racing season is always fun, and having a relationship with the girls in your boat is always phenomenal.'

Q: Sum up the season to this point, and what are your goals for the rest of the year?

A: 'The season, to this point, has been pretty much right on schedule. We didn't have a good race against Washington State, but besides that, the race against Victoria was very good. The boat has made some really big improvements just since San Diego (April 5-6). I think we're fast - we're faster than we've been before. We'll see - we're 15th in the nation, so that's a good sign.'

Q: Do you have personal goals for the rest of the year, or are they more team-oriented?

A: 'As a coxswain, my goal is to make their goals come true. Yeah, I'd like to go to Nationals, personally. The team goal is that we'd like to be No. 6 in the nation.'

Q: Any particular reason why No. 6?

A: 'That would put us in the Grand Finals at Nationals.'

Q: What has been your most memorable experience at OSU?

A: 'My most memorable moment, for sure, was last year at Redwood Shores, which is the race we have this weekend. I was the coxswain in the JV boat, and we were not supposed to beat Cal. Nobody thought there was even a chance - I didn't even really think there was a chance.

'We had a really good start, and I looked over - and Cal comes off the line really fast, just like the varsity boat does - and I looked over and I said, 'Hey, we're even. We didn't think we'd be in it this far, let's see what we can do.' We blew them away. It was phenomenal. By far, it was the most memorable moment.'

Q: If you could pick out one thing about rowing that people don't know, what would that be?

A: 'I think the thing that people don't understand is how team-oriented it is. Most sports have a star - there's somebody, whether it's the point guard or the quarterback, there's somebody that people know their name. In rowing, there's no such thing. The boat is only as fast as the weakest link, and moves only happen if everybody wants it. We move as a seamless unit - oars go in, they come out together. There's no star, there's no individuality. It's all one. And I think that's the thing that people forget is there's nobody in the spotlight.'

Q: Take me through a race day with the rowing team.

A: 'For me, I always have to leave the hotel before everybody else - with a cup of coffee. There's always a coxswain's meeting where I go over the rules, traffic patterns, all that stuff - official times. Then the girls will meet me at the course a couple hours later. We usually arrive at the course a half-hour to an hour before we actually get in the boat to start our warm-up. We'll get on the water 45 minutes before we race.

'Warm-ups consist, basically, of trying to find the timing, getting the feel, and getting our heads in it. We have a couple hard strokes, and then we go to the start line. 'The race is just a motion from the first stroke to the last.'

Q: What's a road trip like with the crew?

A: 'Lots of sleeping. We sleep a lot. Basically, we'll get on the bus, sleep until we get to the plane. We'll get there, and we'll run a practice on the race course.'

Q: How often do you practice?

A: 'Right now, we practice everyday at 4 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we'll practice at 5:45 a.m. So we go twice a day those days, and then we lift weights.'

Q: What do you like to do when you have free time, if you have free time?

A: 'I don't have much free time.'

Q: Hypothetically, if you had free time?

A: 'My parents have a ranch in Lake County, and when I graduate - I'm actually getting married right after I graduate - John and I are going home and we're going to take over my family's ranch.

'If it wasn't for crew, my horses would be up here, and I'd be team roping. But crew happened, and they never came.'

Q: Did you grow up on that ranch?

A: 'That ranch. I rode before I could walk.'

Q: Any good rodeo stories?

A: 'The best story I guess... I don't really remember it. I was on the high school rodeo team, and there was this kid I roped with - Lee. He and I always sort of fought... 'Oh, I rope better than you...' But we were partners.

'You ride into the box, which is what you come out of. The announcer was talking, and I wasn't paying any attention because I was so focused on the steer. I guess he was saying 'Lee, where did you pick up this girl, she's kinda cute,' and so on. I was really glad I didn't hear it, because I would have been so angry I wouldn't have been able to focus. But the steer came out, Lee roped it, and I came in and heeled it, and we actually won the rodeo. But when I roped it, the announcer's like 'Oh, gosh! She can rope!' My dad was so proud. He thought the announcer got me all wound up, but I hadn't heard him.'

Q: Have you seen any good movies or read any good books lately?

A: 'No... I haven't watched any movies.'

Q: No extra time?

A: 'No extra time. Two majors, trying to plan a wedding, crew... not much time.'

Q: Anything else you want to mention?

A: 'One thing that is unique between now and Pac-10s is that every crew we race is above us in the rankings. The exciting thing, and our focus for this weekend is that, basically, we have nothing to lose. These teams could kill us, and it won't affect us. But the exciting thing is that we can go out there with no pressure and see what we can do, and we can really destroy somebody. So that's exciting.'

SCHEDULE: Oregon State takes on a pair of highly-ranked opponents Saturday, April 19 when it faces No. 1 California and No. 4 Stanford at Redwood Shores, Calif. OSU races Stanford in the morning session, and Cal in the afternoon. Following is the schedule:

OSU vs. Cal9:10 a.m. - Varsity 89:30 - Second varsity 89:50 - Varsity 4OSU vs. Stanford1:30 p.m. - Novice 81:40 - Varsity 41:50 - Second novice 82:00 - Varsity 82:30 - Varsity 4 'B'
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