Athlete of the Week: Marnie McLean

Marnie McLean is a senior exercise and sports science major at NSU. She is from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and has been on NSU’s rowing team since her freshman year.

How and why did you get into rowing?

“I started rowing when I was 13 years old. The part of Canada I’m from is a super big rowing community. We host what I believe is the oldest race in Canada every year, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Growing up, I was actually named after a very famous rower named Marnie McBean. My mother found out she was pregnant right around the time she was winning all her Olympic gold medals. I think that my parents naming me Marnie was a bit of a premonition because once I turned thirteen and got to high school, I got super involved with rowing. I played basketball, volleyball and soccer growing up, but I never found much success. Once I tried rowing, I found that I was able to work towards something that had attainable markers rather than playing games.”

Why did you choose to come to NSU?

“I chose to come to NSU because I hate snow, and I wanted the opportunity to be able to row year round. Additionally, I knew that NSU would provide me academic opportunities and chances outside of the classroom to succeed through my involvement in various student organizations.”

What are the pros and cons of being a student-athlete?

“The pros of being a student-athlete are definitely being able to participate in what I love at a high level obviously, [and] being able to register for classes early is nice, too. The cons [are] that we may not have the typical student experience of college, but I think that student-athletes here at Nova are aware of that and are dedicated to both our sports and our academics. I don’t think that anything has been lost by being a student-athlete; I don’t think there are any cons.”

How have you managed to balance sports and academics?

“I’ve been able to balance my sports and academics by being super proactive. I’m not a big procrastinator. My sport practices super early in the morning, so I have all day to focus on my academics. Also, I am very attached to my calendar. I have an online one and a paper one, so I write everything down, plan out my semester and know when everything’s due beforehand. Nothing comes up and surprises me.”

What would you tell an incoming freshman athlete?

“I would definitely tell them to plan out your semester. Know when your assignments are due. Work hard in the classroom and in whatever sport you choose to participate in because you will find that it’s very rewarding and satisfying when you achieve something that you didn’t think you were capable of, whether it’s on the court or on a test.”

How has rowing helped you adjust to college life?

“Rowing is definitely the reason I have the time management skills that I do like I said before getting up early and getting things done throughout the day. Also, it’s taught me to be incredibly efficient. I used to be a perfectionist, and now that I know that, if something’s good and I can get it done quickly, I’ll do it right away because I think that efficiency allows for me to be a part of all the things I’m a part of and have my life flow smoothly throughout the day.

What does your downtime look like?

“A lot of naps. I’m also the Vice President of SGA, which is something that I never thought I would be part of. It’s nice to have something that’s stimulating mentally rather than physically outside of training.”

What has been your favorite rowing moment?

“My favorite moment of my rowing career thus-far has been rowing the head of the Charles Regatta in Boston my freshman year. None of us had rowed together before, and we trained super hard for the biggest race in the world. We were able to get second by only .28. It was great to row with those girls. They’ve all graduated and moved on from here, but that experience was definitely the highlight of my rowing career.”

Do you have any pre-regatta rituals?

“I have to listen to Africa by Toto on full-blast, and I have to have a very specific amount of coffee, a very specific amount of time before racing.”

What is your favorite thing to do after a regatta?

“I like to eat ice cream after I race.”

What do you plan to do after graduation?

“I will be doing my Master’s in exercise physiology.”

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