Q&A With Siblings Anthony and Jessica Morrell of the Rowing Teams
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Rowing is a family affair for Jessica Morrell and Anthony Morrell. The siblings grew up rowing together in Laguna Beach, and now compete on the University of California San Diego rowing teams. Jessica is in her first year with the Tritons, while Anthony is currently a junior. The duo stopped by to answer questions about each other and their experiences with rowing.
Q: Which one of you is more competitive?
J: I would say I am because I always want to be number one. We’re not really competitive with each other because we’re so different. He’s a rower too, so I can’t compete with that. I’ve just been competitive through high school with my grades, and my friends, and rowing, always.
A: I’ve had my fair amount of competition with rowing specifically. In terms of high school rowing, that’s where it started for me. I found a real love for being competitive with rowing specifically. I didn’t feel a whole lot of competitiveness with tennis and cross country, but with rowing there was something special there. I fell in love with the team sport and the fact that you and a couple other guys are giving your all on the water, and that’s something I’ve brought with me to college and continue to do here.
Q: Who would make a better rowing coach?
J: I actually have experience with this. Last summer, we lived in Utah for the summer, and I coached for Park City Rowing Academy and I helped improve a lot of kids who are actually looking to come here now for rowing. I gained a lot of skills from that. I think he would be too because we’ve been rowing for so long. Maybe we could be a power coaching staff.
A: It’s kind of hard to say. I think we both have experienced the sport from a different perspective, so we both have ways to analyze and critique others that are in the sport. I have also done a fair amount of coaching over the summers at my club back home, so I have experience with that in terms of beginners who are just started with rowing: getting them in the boats, getting them to understand the equipment and how it works, and boiling down the sport to its basics.
Q: Who likes to travel for competitions more?
J: Him and Me
J: Growing up, we traveled quite a bit as a family, and for all of our races, we’ve always been on the same team so we’ve traveled together. It’s hard to say who enjoys it more. I think we both enjoy it a lot because it’s really interesting to see where rowing can take you. We’ve been to so many different states competing against so many other good teams. I think we both enjoy that experience a lot and it’s a good opportunity.
A: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel with my team here the past few years, especially the east coast, racing against Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and a lot of the big boys. It’s fun to get out of Southern California and the California spectrum and race the top guys in the sport and let it all out on the water.
Q: Who struggles more to wake up for morning practice?
J: I would say it’s him because in high school, I’d usually be the first one ready and waiting in the car like, “Anthony we have to go!” We’re not in the same carpool now, but for me personally, I set one alarm and I get up and have to wake my other roommates up to get to practice. I don’t know how it is with him in his house now, but that’s how it was in high school.
A: I don’t find it too hard to wake up in the morning. Once you do it enough, it kind of becomes a schedule. You go to bed early, and your body is used to sleeping for that seven or eight hour window if you can. Sometimes you’ll even wake up before the alarm because your body is on that rhythm.
Q: Both of your teams are stranded on a deserted island. Which team survives longer?
J: Your team just seems to have a lot of big men on it. I don’t know. It seems that they’d be good at it. I feel like our teams would go together well, trying to figure out solutions.
A: Possibly. I think the competitive nature of my team would be a little bit too gnarly in terms of a survival situation. I would probably want to see how it goes, see if we’re going to be able to establish some kind of community. If not, I’d book it and be solo, on my own somewhere.
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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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