By Eric Coburn ’18 and Kelley McLellan ’17
Sports Editor and Associate Sports Editor
Tasha Wypych is a first semester sophomore from Wellington, New Zealand. This athletic training major is a member of the women’s rowing team. Before coming to Merrimack, Wypych won the Bronze Medal at the New Zealand Rowing Nationals in 2013. Her first season here she rowed as the Bow for Merrimack. Wypych ended her first year with three first-place finishes as well as taking second place at the Knecht Cup. The Beacon sat down with this talented New Zealand native, to get to know her more.
How long have you done crew for?
I started two years before I came to Merrimack. New Zealand won medals in the 2012 Olympics and it caught my attention so I decided to do it.
What was your first practice like?
Looking back it was the easiest practice I have ever done but it was the hardest at the time. In practices now we do 4×20 minute pieces 5×5 pieces as hard as you can. Most people think we use our arms a lot but the legs are what we actually use the most.
Where are some of the places the team will travel to compete?
We have events in Philadelphia, the national tournament (which we will hopefully qualify for) is in Sacramento, and in June hopefully we will go to England for a race called the Henley Royal Ragatta.
How did you choose to come to Merrimack?
I was on a website that helps you be recruited. I then came in contact with the coach. Because I lived so far away I just did the campus tour online. Merrimack has been really cool so far. I love the student athlete lifestyle in a different country. I like experiencing a different culture.
How long was the flight from home to get to Merrimack?
The flight from New Zealand to Merrimack was 24 hours in the air between four different flights, which doesn’t even include layover.
How did you handle the jet lag?
The jet lag was awful and I had no sleep in two days before orientation. I tried to scratch out my Mack card photo because I was exhausted and looked awful with giant bags under my eyes from getting no sleep. It took me about a week to fully recover and adjust from it.
What were some of the things you heard about the U.S. before coming over here?
We hear a lot about the gun violence stuff and the election because it gets broadcasted back home. We heard a lot about the record snowfall that it got last year too.
What shocked you about coming to school in the U.S.?
The size of everything. The campus size and food samples are like twice the size here as back home.
What is a stereotype you’ve heard about New Zealand while being in the U.S.?
In New Zealand there are more sheep than people. I told someone here that there are four or five sheep per person and they asked what the name of my five sheep were. Someone also asked if we had water in New Zealand.
With New Zealand not getting snow where you live, what was it like the first time you saw snow at school?
I was the only one outside. I was running and jumping around campus. I was making snow angels and building snowmans. I just thought no classes and snow was the greatest thing in the world.
What from New Zealand would you bring over here with you?
I won’t go home until the summer of 2017, so probably my family. My mom is coming over this summer with my brother so I am going to travel around the United States with them. But besides my family, I would bring some chocolate and candy. We are also big on fish and chips too so probably that.
You can only pack three items for a trip all over the world. What would they be?
My phone, a lot of food, especially mac and cheese, and my neck pillow.
If you could describe yourself to a complete stranger in one word what would it be?
Ambitious. I feel very motivated with the goals I want to achieve like getting my degree and graduating from here. I want to help build the crew program here and visit as many places as I can.
What do you want to accomplish before and after you graduate from Merrimack?
Like I mentioned I want to obviously get my degree and help the program grow. After Merrimack, I would like to go back home for a little and then come back here and live here for the rest of my life. I want to live in the south, somewhere like Texas. I also would love to go to the Olympics. I love crew so I want to go as far as I can with it.