The Dolphin Dozen series of interviews conducted by "Voice of the Dolphins" Scott Manze continues with men's rowing senior Ryan Springer. He is in his fourth year in the program. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript below.
- Do you have superstitions? Are there certain things you have to do before every race?
Not really, typically I just listen to country music and get my mind settled and ready to go, just to prepare and get ready for the grueling battle we go through in a 2,000-meter race or a 5,000-meter race. It's really nothing, some people like to get very hyped. I'm more of the person who is more reserved and likes to get mentally prepared for the race ahead.
- What is your greatest athletic achievement so far?
Definitely making the IRA, which is the national regatta for rowing my freshman year. I'm looking forward to trying to compete to go there again, because that was such a good opportunity my first year. Giving me the opportunity to go see the best athletes in the country that do row, it's definitely eye-opening and I can relay that back to the team and see what we need to do differently to compete there as a full team, not just as a six-man squad.
- When did you start rowing?
I started my freshman year. My dad relayed the information to me through his friend. I started in the winter and just did winter and spring and did soccer in the fall, but when I got to my senior year, I fully committed to rowing full-time when I found out that I had an opportunity to come to JU.
- Would you be playing soccer if you weren't rowing right now, would that be your sport of choice?
I mean, it'd be my sport of choice. I'm not too good at that. I was definitely not good enough to go to college for it, but I definitely enjoyed playing it with all my buddies.
What position did you play?
- What is your number one song on your hype/pregame playlist right now?
Typically, "Today's Country Hits" on Pandora, but if I wanted to get hyped for a reason, it's Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares".
- What drew you to come to JU?
I was searching for places that I could continue my rowing career, some places colder than others. I came down here with my dad and saw the campus and met all the guys on the team and that just kind of propelled me to want to come to JU. The weather, the guys, the school, I knew that it was a perfect fit for me.
- What is your major and why did you choose it?
I'm a double major in finance and sports business. I chose it because I kind of want to go towards an athletic director role. Being an athlete for most of my life and working with athletes in a team aspect and a competing aspect, I'm really going to miss that when I graduate. I want to help other athletes have the same opportunities as I did when I was growing up. I think that's something I could definitely get behind and be passionate about and wake up and definitely see a change every single day.
Do you have a plan to start applying for college athletic departments, maybe as a graduate assistant when you get out of here?
I have a job with Aramark back home that kind of works with the University of Pennsylvania. Hopefully I can work with them for a bit, and then see if they have any internships, unpaid or paid, whatever they have available that I can try and get into and work hard and hopefully work my way up the ranks.
I like it, a lot of ambition there. We see an example of a pretty young AD on this campus too, so anything is possible once you get in there.
- Where are you from and what is the defining characteristic of your town?
I'm from Haddon Township, N.J. I guess the close-knit group there. It's a pretty small town…more medium than small, but everyone seems to know each other. When you go out, nobody's too unfriendly. Everyone has a general sense of being kind to each other and when you go out to gatherings that they hold, you meet people that you thought you would never meet and gain friendships through that. It's kind of just a friendly and welcoming place, for sure.
- Do you have a favorite road trip memory from your time at JU?
Last year we had to drive up to Philadelphia. A bunch of our buddies, we took vans. I think it was close to 20 people, 22 people in 15-passenger vans. We were kind of crammed in there. We drove from Jacksonville to Clemson and had a training trip in Clemson. It was like eight hours and stayed in Clemson for a week and went up to Philadelphia for a race and came back down. A lot of driving and you get to the point where you get to know a lot about your teammates and maybe a bit too much and start to get sick of them a little bit. It was definitely an interesting time and something I'll remember for the rest of my life for sure.
- Do you have a specific accessory or something that you have to wear every race day?
Not really. I don't really have anything like that. I think of people and I think of different things during it to kind of get me through, but nothing physical that I wear.
- What is your go-to prerace meal or snack?
With rowing, races are very few. We probably have like six during the entire school year. So more for test pieces, some of my friends and I go to Chipotle and kind of carb up at Chipotle, that's a big thing that we do. During races, I don't really like to eat before a race. I'd much rather go empty stomach. Definitely doesn't feel too good when you're at the finish line dry-heaving a little bit, but…I don't think I eat anything beforehand, just Gatorade and water.
Do you have a go-to Chipotle order?
I'm pretty basic, just meat, cheese and rice. Nothing more.
So just a chicken burrito. [laughs]
Pretty much. Pretty plain, pretty basic, definitely. [laughs]
Hey, if it gets the job done, that's all that matters.
- The final question was posed by Dakota Trice of football. He asked, what is your favorite sport to attend at JU as a fan?
I like the women's soccer games. Our entire team likes to get behind that, we try to attend as many as we can. I think women's soccer since I played soccer in high school, I just enjoy the sport. We attend that a good amount.
Do you have a question you would like to pose for a fellow student-athlete?
Yes. What is your biggest obstacle that you've had to overcome at JU, getting to your athletic career at this moment.