Athlete of the Week- Alexa Mueller

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Alexa Mueller

Senior Alexa Mueller will be continuing her academic and rowing career at the University of Minnesota this fall.

Shobini Iyer, Editor in Chief

Senior Alexa Mueller began her rowing career in 10th grade, with little foresight about where her training would take her. Three years later, Mueller will soon be a D1 athlete continuing her academic and rowing career at the University of Minnesota. However, her journey to rowing success was far from easy. 

If there was one word to describe a day in Mueller’s life, it would be “go.” On a typical day during the spring and fall, which are the racing seasons, Mueller is up at 4:30 a.m. to drive to the boathouse for practice at 5:20 a.m.. 

After being out on the water until 7 a.m., she has no time to go home before first period, which begins at 8:10 a.m.. Mueller must quickly get ready for school at the boathouse before driving to school. 

Mueller tries to get most of her work done during the school day because after school, she must  “go” once again. “We have a second practice from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and by the time I am home and showered, it’s approaching the time I need to get to sleep,” Mueller shared. 

Beyond the school day and her rigorous training schedule, Mueller prioritizes her homework in any free time she has remaining. “On any given day I usually have about an hour of extra time not devoted to rowing or being at school, and that hour is quickly sucked up by homework,” she stated. 

Rowing is an all-year round sport, which means there are truly no days off. When the weather is not fit for outdoor practice, Mueller and her teammates take their training indoors in the form of erg workouts. 

All of this training was with one goal in mind: earning the opportunity to row in college. What may come as a surprise to many, Mueller was thinking about rowing recruitment not long after she started. 

Mueller began her recruitment process at the beginning of junior year by responding to interested coaches via email or scheduling Zoom calls with them. “I had calls with close to twenty schools, but many of them I could tell wouldn’t be a good fit from the beginning, so I would just thank them for their time and move on,” Mueller continued.

Before committing to rowing at the University of Minnesota, Mueller talked to many coaches to find the perfect program for her. After narrowing her options down to six schools, Mueller began to consider her options more seriously. While simultaneously participating in rowing competitions, Mueller carved out whatever hours were available out of her busy schedule to grab lunch or coffee with coaches, talk with them in person or over the phone.

But the process was not truly over until the fall of her senior year— the end of the recruiting process, during which athletes are offered officials to schools. While finalizing her future, Mueller spent many weekends in the early fall of her senior year traveling to visit campuses. 

Now, as a committed athlete to University of Minnesota’s D1 rowing program, Mueller couldn’t be happier with her decision. In close proximity to the Twin Cities with plenty of entertainment and dining options available, the university’s campus made Mueller feel at home. 

Despite receiving offers from other schools with high levels of prestige, Mueller trusted her instincts when choosing the University of Minnesota. “The coaching staff was incredible. It is rare in rowing to find coaches that care about you as a human being and not just a commodity. They have a very positive coaching style, and really support their athletes, while still pushing them to be the best they can be,” Mueller stated. 

Another large pull factor for Mueller was the university’s large size and abundance of resources, especially for athletes. During her visit, Mueller found the university’s facilities and resources to be unmatched by any other schools, only further strengthening her choice that University of Minnesota was the place for her. 

“The athletic department provides athlete specific tutoring, counseling and internships. In addition, there are a variety of free treatments at your disposal as an athlete, such as chiropractic, dry needling, cupping, deep tissue massage and cryotherapy,” Mueller continued.  

Outside of rowing, Mueller devotes a lot of time and energy into music— specifically, playing solo gigs at local venues with her acoustic guitar once or twice a week. “When these shows come up, I will usually do my workouts early, or I will complete them at home. I also participate in choir, but since concerts are few and far between it doesn’t disrupt my training too much,” she said. 

Although her on-the-go lifestyle may not be fit for everyone, Mueller serves as an inspiration that with hard work and dedication, anything can be accomplished. However, Mueller warned that with the benefits of rowing come many additional considerations. 

Her advice to underclassmen interested in rowing: “Never start rowing if you don’t love it. Many people row for scholarships, and while that is a possible pro of signing with the sport, if you don’t really love it, your college experience will be grueling for you. Money isn’t worth four years of your mental health. ” 

Mueller continued, “With that said, if you are really interested in rowing, trying out to get onto a novice team once you are in college is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the sport.”

The future is bright for Mueller as she continues her rowing and academic journey at the University of Minnesota. Her relentless work ethic and determination is sure to bring her success in all of her future endeavors.