Getting to Know Mara Allen

May. 2, 2005

Mara Allen, one of two freshman rowers on the varsity eight has helped lead Cal to an undefeated regular season. Prior to Cal, Allen showed great promise, captaining her Marin Rowing Association club team to the 2003 state championship. While preparing for the Pac-10 championships (May 13) she sat down with and answered some questions.

Nickname: Never had one. People have always said my name suits me.
Position: Starboard

Favorite ...
Movie: I have watched 'Love Actually' about 15 times this winter and I absolutely love it. But I also really like old Disney movies like 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King.'
TV show: I was a diehard 'Friends' fanatic. Ever since it left the air I live off of reruns. I also enjoy old episodes of 'Scrubs' and 'The West Wing.'
Athlete: I don't have one. I don't watch pro sports so any favorite athlete would be someone I have been on a team with.
Sports to play (other than crew): Basketball and Football.
Sport to watch (on TV or in person): I've never really liked to watch. I'd much rather actually do the sport.
Food: Such a hard decision. Although I am a really picky eater, I love food. My favorite is definitely pizza, I absolutely love it.
Band/Artist: At the moment either Maroon 5 or Lonestar (a country band). I got started on a country kick about a year ago. I used to be ashamed of liking country, but now I have become a little more proud of my partiality to it.

How did you get involved in crew?
My dad has been sculling in a single (a boat with two oars) since I was little so I probably learned to scull when I was five. Then in seventh grade, my older sister, as a freshman in high school, joined the city's crew team. Three years later I followed suit.

Why did you choose to come to Cal?
As everyone at Cal knows, it's awesome. I came here on a recruiting trip my senior year and had the best time. After that I saw a couple other schools and realized that Cal was the place to be.

At the beginning of the season, what is the one thing you most look forward to?
I really looked forward to being on a team that has so many amazing athletes. At the collegiate lever there are so many more people to look up to than in high school. It's awesome being a little fish in a really big pond.

What did you dread most about coming to Cal?
I did not really dread anything coming into college but I think I was really scared of the practice schedule and the intensity of the erging. I was so scared of not living up to the expectations people had and not fulfilling my 'potential.'

What is your pre-race routine/superstition?
I have never found anything that has worked consistently for me. After I win I try to repeat the same pre-race routine for the next time, but it never has really worked.

What are the last three CDs you bought?
I don't typically buy CDs. The last three new albums I have listened to are Maroon 5's 'Songs about Jane,' Tracy Chapman's 'Tracy Chapman' and Lonestar's 'Let's be us Again.'

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you bring with you, and what 3 things would you want to take?
As corny as this sounds I'd probably bring my brother (Morgan Allen is on the Cal Men's Crew Team). He can be one of the most entertaining people I know, plus he can be used for manual labor. The three objects would be a rope, knife, and matches because I like to be prepared. Also, I don't think I could ever be able to start a fire with out matches.

What is your greatest achievement in crew?
Surviving. Sometimes it takes more strength just to get through one day than I ever thought possible

What do you do in your spare time?
Hang out at my suite. I usually love to cook and bake, but without a stove and oven this year has been tough. Usually my suitemate, Laura, and I end up sprawled out in the hallway procrastinating.

If you could trade places with anyone (celebrity or not) who would it be and why?
My sister. I am completely jealous of her life and I always have been. She has been to England three times, traveled around Europe, decided her major, is doing a year abroad right now and always seemed to take what ever she had and make it a whole lot better than what I had. She is also the only person I think I would really want to switch lives with. I have always admired her and basically have wanted her life.

Who/what inspires you the most?
My teammates. They are the people that I get to see pushing the limits everyday. I usually look up to the people who are never given any favors. I just think these people have so much strength and determination to do whatever they have to just to make a boat. It really inspires me to take advantage of opportunities that I come by.

What is the one song/type of music that you think should be banned from the erg room?
'Baba O'Riley (Teenage Wasteland)' by The Who. Some people love it and I cannot stand it. It has this awful intro that lasts for an entire minute without any lyrics and it is possibly the most annoying minute of any song. It might not sound like a very long time but it's the devil when you're in that much pain.

What are your plans for the summer?
I'm actually getting jaw surgery so I'll be in recovery for most of it. Other than that I usually work at a café and relax. I really enjoy having low-key summers.

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