May 8, 2007
After wrapping up her finals week, junior rower Nina Dobratz answered some questions for us here at utladyvols.com. Here's a peek into the mind of Tennessee's junior captain who is also a member of the Varsity 8+ crew.
Being a College Scholar and honor student, do you have any advice on how to balance academics and athletics?
I make a list almost every morning with everything I need to do that day and how long it will take. Then, all I have to do is follow the list. And I NEVER forget to include chill time!
As a junior captain, how do you help to motivate and support the rest of the team?
I like to bring a lot of positive energy to each practice--everything is better if it feels fun! I also serve as a communicator between my teammates and our coach.
What is your favorite spot on the UT campus?
Crossing the 12th street bridge before practice. You can see the sunrise over all of downtown. It's beautiful; it makes you feel lucky to be awake.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It's a breathtaking and emotional account of friendship across social class in Afghanistan.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I just bought a shiny blue bike at the Earth Day Fair bike sale. I named him Felipe. I love riding him around and exploring! I am also an up and coming rap artist.
What has been your favorite athletic moment at Tennessee?
At regionals last year, we came across the 1000 meter mark and our coxswain screamed: "I am ahead of the pack!!" It was so exciting to be leading some of the best teams in the country. I keep rowing to see how it feels to cross the finish line with my coxswain saying the same thing.
If you could invite four people over for dinner, who would they be?
Rigoberta Menchu and Paulo Freire--revolutionaries from Guatemala and Brazil.
Calvin and Hobbes. (yes, the cartoon characters).
What quote inspires you the most?
Recently, "Nothing splendid been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances."
Which reality show would you rather be on: American Idol or Survivor?
Option C. American Gladiator.
What is the best vacation you have ever been on?
My friend and I took a cross country road trip last summer in her truck. We got to pass through so many beautiful states and meet some crazy people. Every night we would pull into a campsite after dark and fall asleep looking at the stars. My favorite morning was when we awoke in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming with an entire mountain range towering beside us.
What is the one food item you cannot live without?
Oatmeal with vanilla soy milk. Sooo good.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to work as an activist for children in developing countries. How and where will be decided by time and God. I would also like to start a restaurant.
Which season do you like the most?
All of them!
If you could go on a vacation right now, which country would you most like to visit?
India or Afghanistan.
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Which holiday do you enjoy the most?
Christmas! And I really like St. Patrick's day too.
What do you do to relieve stress?
What movie were you itching to buy the minute it was released?
I have never bought a movie!
What are some routines you use to prepare for a regatta?
Krista and I always wake up at least an hour before everyone else, and we have a cup of coffee. I enjoy the extra time in the morning to prepare my mind and body for race day.
What goes through your mind when you are rowing?
During a race, whatever the coxswain is saying.
Why do you love rowing so much?
Nothing compares go the focused and unified strength of nine athletes in the middle of a race. It's addictive.
When you have time to watch TV, what shows do you watch?
Yea... I don't have a TV.
If you were not competing in rowing, what sport would you pursue?
I would love to try out rock climbing after college.
Tell us a bit about what you did last summer.
I went to Valparaiso, Chile for a summer study abroad program. I lived with a Chilean family, took classes for a couple months, met some incredible people, practiced Spanish, traveled around Chile and Argentina, and I also took a jab at street performing.
What's it like coming from one corner of the country to another for college?
When I first got here August of my freshmen year, I was astounded by how loud the bugs got at night. Now, that noise is one of my favorite things about coming back in the fall. It's really great to be able to have two excellent cities to call my home.
What are your thoughts on Tennessee hosting the 2007 NCAA Rowing Championships?
Oak Ridge is an exceptional race venue. I'm excited for other teams to come and race on our water, and for Tennesseans to get out there and see some great rowing!!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Complete the sentence: You'd be surprised to know that I...
Competed in a chess and math tournaments when I was younger!