The Dolphin Dozen series of interviews conducted by "Voice of the Dolphins" Scott Manze continues with track and field senior sprinter Jacquelyn Baldwin. She is entering her 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, maybe every practice?
Not before practice, but before every race, when I wake up in the morning I have to call my sister. She kind of brings me back to a baseline level, helps me with my nerves. I also have to have a nap. [laughs] At least two hours, just to get me ready. Track meets are generally long, so I have to be rested.
- What is your greatest athletic achievement so far at JU?
That's a hard question. My greatest athletic achievement I think was my sophomore year, breaking records and just getting better overall. I broke the 23 second barrier in the 200 [meter dash] and that was an awesome feeling. I think that was it, going sub-23 in the 200.
That's pretty darn fast.
Yeah, so it's been a race that I never really liked and now it's become my favorite race.
What about it makes it your favorite? Is it just how fast you're able to run it? I always found in my brief and not very successful track career that I liked the 200 because it wasn't too far and it wasn't too short per say.
I think it's just the curve. You've got to go from the get-go in any of the short sprint events. Running on the curve and coming off and just trying to power through the last 100 is probably the best part of the race.
- When did you start competing in track? I'm sure you've been running for a good portion of your life.
I started competing in sixth grade. My older cousins ran track and I played basketball previously. I wanted to see, if they were fast, maybe I got the genes too, and I did, so I started in sixth grade.
- So, the answer to the next question, would it be basketball you were playing if you weren't competing in track?
Yeah, I love basketball, I like the adrenaline, I love defense, I like the rush of it. Not really an offensive player, I never looked to score. [laughs] I just like the energy of basketball. But, if I had to choose a different sport, it would probably be gymnastics. I'm a pretty powerful person, so I think I could discipline myself to do flips and things like that.
Now, did you ever do any sort of gymnastics growing up?
No. Never done gymnastics, I just love watching it. I like seeing short people like me be powerful and excel in their craft.
Simone Biles is one of the best, I mean it's all subjective, but she is one of the best athletes in the world right now.
She is amazing. I love watching her. She is like 4'10", I'm 5'2". She is powerful and she excels at what she does and that's inspirational to any athlete.
You're an absolute skyscraper compared to her. [laughs]
- Do you have a hype song, something that is a go-to for you to listen to before you get going?
I don't have a particular song that hypes me up, but I do like the song "Despacito". [by Luis Fonsi] My teammates think I'm crazy, but I think I can speak Spanish so I just try to sing along with the song and have absolutely no idea what I am saying. I think that song is my favorite.
It is a fun song, it's catchy. I like it a lot.
- What drew you to come to JU?
Coach [Ron] Grigg and my team. When I came down on my visit, I previously had visited bigger schools and I liked the small community of JU, I liked the small classrooms. I liked what Coach had to offer. He was very real and honest, he wasn't trying to throw big things at me. He was like, 'this is who we are and this is what we got'. And the weather! Being that I'm from a cold state, I liked Florida's weather.
That has been a common theme, especially among those that I have interviewed from the north. They seem to really be drawn by that weather.
- What is your major and why did you choose it?
My major is kinesiology. I want to become a physician's assistant, either a physician's assistant for an Obstetrician or pediatrics.
You've got everything kind of planned out here it seems like. What kind of steps have you taken to fulfilling that goal?
Finishing my major. Looking at different schools to pursue the master's in that and just doing my research and background and seeing what field I really want to be in when I get into my career.
- You mentioned you're from the north. Where exactly is your hometown?
I am from Kenosha, Wisconsin. That is the last city in Wisconsin. I am between Chicago and Milwaukee.
I have ridden on a train through Kenosha, Wisconsin on my way from Chicago to Milwaukee, so that's the extent I've see of that. What is the defining characteristic of Kenosha?
Probably downtown; the lake. People like going pier jumping. The lighthouse. Small shops, just little pubs and shopping centers downtown. It's a pretty plain city, but I think the lake is where everybody continually come together and enjoy. That's where people go for the fireworks and Christmas tree lightings and stuff like that.
Can you explain pier jumping to me? Is it as simple as it sounds?
[Laughs] Yeah, you just get on the pier and jump into the lake! I've never done it, I'm not much of a swimmer, and I'm scared of the current, but kids do. They jump off of the pier and they probably shouldn't, but not me, no, not for me. [laughs]
[Laughs] Wild times in Wisconsin, pier jumping.
- Do you have any kind of an accessory that you wear on race day, something that is specific to you?
I always have to have on black spandex under my green competition bottoms, or white. I don't know what it is, but I've always done that since sixth grade, had some sort of black spandex on. I have to have it. I don't know if it's just a feeling, if I don't have it I feel lost, so maybe it's the extra tightness of the spandex, but…spandex, yeah.
- What is your go-to prerace or postrace meal?
Before, I love peanut butter, so I either have to have like a peanut butter bagel or peanut butter sandwich, peanut butter toast, with a banana and a Propel water. Then postrace, maybe I'd have to say pasta or if we're feeling a little 'boujee' we'll go to Bento and get some sushi or something. [laughs] I'd say peanut butter something day of before, and after, pasta or sushi.
- Final question comes from Madison Boyer of women's rowing. She wants to know what drives you to get out of bed in the morning to continue to compete?
I think what ultimately drives me is that I try to stay grateful that I have the opportunities that have been given. I try to remember that someone didn't wake up this morning, someone didn't get the opportunities and chances I've been given. I also have my goals for myself. Getting up is what I have to do to succeed, it's what I gotta do.
- Do you have a question that you would like to pose to a fellow student-athlete?
I would like to know, what is the biggest lesson you have learned since you've been an athlete? There is so many lessons that you learn each year, each week, each month. So what is the biggest thing that you could share with someone else that you've learned?