A conversation with Wellesley’s Athlete of the Week, Dorothy Ren '16
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 17:11
After setting a school record in her first collegiate meet, Dorothy Ren ’16 had nothing to do in her second meet but break another record. She broke her first record in her leg of the 4x100 individual medley (I.M.) relay on Nov. 3 and set another record this weekend in her leg of the 200-meter medley.
This New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Swimmer of the Week won’t be able to shave her legs until February, but she’s upbeat about the season and her role on the team. Before suiting up to help Wellesley take down Roger Williams and Clark, she told me about the team’s no-shave policy and some of the hardest things about collegiate swimming.
Emily Bary (E.B.): Why did you choose to swim at Wellesley?
Dorothy Ren (D.R.): I love swimming, but it will only take me so far. I know that in four years, Wellesley is the key to producing an individual that I will be proud of. But a definite shoutout to Bonster [Coach Bonnie Dix], King Racker [Assistant Coach Carlos Vega] and the rest of my teammates. I would not be where I am without them constantly pushing me to better myself. I love my Wellesley Swimming and Diving family.
(E.B.): When did you start swimming? Why?
(D.R.): Around two or three, but I started swimming competitively at seven.
(E.B.): What is your favorite race?
(D.R.): Whatever I can score the most points in.
(E.B.): What events do you swim in?
(D.R.): 100 fly, 100 back and 200 I.M.
(E.B.): What’s the hardest part about swimming?
(D.R.): The fact that you have to accept your failures and grow from them. It’s rough coming out from a bad race and having to reset your brain for the next race. Also, there’s a lot of commitment and dedication to waking up early and training hard. I took a long time to realize how much I truly love swimming. Without that realization, there is no way I would be able to drag myself up in the morning and to practice every afternoon.
(E.B.): What do you eat before a big meet?
(D.R.): Whatever I can get my hands on that seems reasonably healthy and won’t sink me to the bottom of the pool.
(E.B.): What is your pre-meet ritual?
(D.R.): Stretching and clearing my head of all negative thoughts.
(E.B.): Who is your favorite professional swimmer?
(D.R.): Nathan Adrian, Conor Dwyer, Matt Grevers, Aaron Peirsol and Ariana Kukors.
(E.B.): Tell me about the no-shave policy. Why does the team do it? Is it in effect now?
(D.R.): It’s fantastic. We are not allowed to shave from Nov. 1 until our championship meet which is in February. I like to think that our leg hair keeps us all the warmer in the wintertime, and creates extra drag in practice. It’s obviously the most attractive feature of female swimmers. But in all seriousness, once that shave does happen in February, you get a feel for the water that you didn’t have before. Swimming is all about the least resistance. Shaving down and tapering makes for fast swimming.
(E.B.): How do you avoid injuries?
(D.R.): I make sure to warm up carefully. I am usually one of the last ones out of the pool during warm-up because I need to feel completely warmed up. This includes swimming, stretching and mentally preparing myself for my races.
Ren has recorded nine victories in two meets to start off her collegiate career. She is one of a handful of first-year swimmers looking to help Wellesley bring home a conference championship this year.