Oct. 7, 2011
The Off the Water series provides a “Getting To Know” piece on members of the University of Notre Dame rowing team in an effort to share with the fans details of what makes each of the athletes who they are outside of the realm of competition.
Kelsey Murphy is preparing to begin her third season with the University of Notre Dame women’s rowing team. Over her first two seasons, the Winthrop, Maine, native has spent time in each the novice eight, third varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four boat, while helping her boat claim BIG EAST gold in each of her first two years. Here is a chance to get to know Kelsey Murphy:
What stood out to you about Notre Dame that helped you know this was the place you wanted to attend?
“How could anyone not want to attend Notre Dame? The gorgeous campus, the tradition and the amazing people were more than enough to convince me.”
When not rowing or taking care of schoolwork, what is the one thing you enjoy doing with your free time?
“If I have some extra time on my hands, I like to spend it at the dining hall with my teammates. You just can’t beat a two-hour meal in the company of good friends. The conversation can be anywhere from silly to downright serious, but it’s always a good time.”
What is the most peaceful place to go to on campus?
“The grotto, of course. But to be more specific, I’ll say the grotto during a late night of studying in the winter when it’s snowing. It’s indescribably peaceful; it’s like entering another world.”
What is the best place to eat on campus?
“North Dining Hall. I love being super creative in the dining hall and there are so many options all the time. My favorite days are when they serve banana bread!”
What is the greatest thrill about rowing for the Irish?
“Everything about racing. There is a huge rush at the start line. The official calls `Attention!’ and everything goes quiet for a split second before he calls `Row!’ at which point all the oars sound loudly as they lock onto the water for the first stroke. Passing another boat during the race is a rush too. You know you’re going faster than the other crew, but there’s still uncertainty because you don’t know if they’ll make a move to catch up. Finally, crossing the finish line (in first place) is the best and worst feeling, or to put it another way, `it hurts so good.’ You’re physically exhausted–legs shaking, lungs heaving–but you feel like you just conquered the world.”
What is the most rewarding thing to you about rowing, in general?
“It’s rewarding to know that the little things add up. Rowing is not a sport where you see results immediately. It takes weeks, months and years of training to improve fitness, strength and skill. Finally seeing results, individually and as a team, is worth all the hard work.”
What makes the group of girls on this team special?
“I cannot say enough about my teammates. We push ourselves to the limit for the sake of making the team faster. These girls are also amazing outside of rowing and we all care about each other’s lives: families, academics, clubs, post-grad plans. The team is a huge support system.”
Was there any one person who was inspirational/motivational to you being where you are today and if so what was the best piece of advice they offered up to you?
“My parents have been great role models by example and they support me in everything I do. They have taught me to take initiative to reach my goals and that if I commit to something, I should give 100%. Perhaps more importantly though, they’ve taught me that life is meant to be enjoyed.”
If you had to choose between watching your favorite movie or listening to your favorite CD which would you choose and why?
“I would definitely choose to watch my favorite movie: Dead Poets Society. I know, best movie ever! When watching a movie, I can curl up on the couch, munch on a snack, and chill with friends.”
Growing up, and maybe even still today, what was the one type of cereal that you had to have and why?
“Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m pretty sure I ate it every morning throughout junior high and high school.”
If you were trapped on an island, what are the three things that you would need to have with you and why?
“First, I would need M&Ms. I’m pretty sure I can’t live without chocolate. Second, I would need a journal and pen. Writing passes the time. And third, I’d have to go with a book–maybe the Harry Potter series so I have lots to read.”
If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
“I would like to eat with Jesus and ask him lots and lots of questions. Then, I’ve got to go with Oscar Wilde. I think he is absolutely genius and a master of words. His works are my favorite in literature. Finally I’d choose Leonardo da Vinci because he lived during the Renaissance and was brilliant in so many areas.”