Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Claire Mackenzie
- School: University of Waterloo
- Sport: Women’s volleyball
- Position: Outside hitter
- Year of eligibility: Fifth
- Program: Recreation and Leisure
- Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
1. What attracted you to University of Waterloo
I chose Waterloo because it offered the exact academic program I was looking for, and I also loved the beautiful campus. I also really liked the volleyball team and volleyball program. The school had just hired our coach, Richard Eddy and he was determined to take the program in a new direction and I wanted to be a part of it. I had a great recruiting visit and really clicked with the other girls on the team. They were very welcoming and made me feel at home and part of the team right away.
2. What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest athletic achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
The best memory of playing volleyball was at the end of last season. Our team was in a three-way tie in the conference standings with only three games remaining. We knew we had to beat two great teams that we were tied with to advance and clinch a spot in the OUA playoffs. We went in confident and knew we had to get the job done and we beat both teams in three straight sets on back-to-back days. We all played amazingly, and I remember it felt so good that as a team, we decided that we wanted this so bad and were determined to do it together.
My greatest individual achievement at the University of Waterloo was in my fourth year, where I was named a First Team All-Star, and I was also nominated for Waterloo’s female Athlete of the Year for the second time.
3. Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
Next year when I am done school, I hope to continue playing volleyball. I am hoping to get into the FTC (the national team’s full-time training center) in Richmond, B.C. I would like to continue to improve and hopefully pursue professional volleyball for a while before starting my career. With my degree, I would like to have a career in recreation as a manager at a recreation facility.
4. Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
The person who was most influential to me was my father. He encouraged me to keep pursuing volleyball when I didn’t believe in myself. He reassured me that I could be good enough for university volleyball. He also helped me with my recruiting video. He understands what it’s like to be an athlete because he was one himself. Because he was an athlete, he knew how to help me with my mental toughness and mental game. He would watch every game of mine online back home in Vancouver and has even flown across the country several times to come to my games at Waterloo. He has supported me ever since I started playing in Grade 8, even though no one in my family had played volleyball before.
5. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
I think I would have dinner with Cristiano Ronaldo. As much as I love watching volleyball, I also love watching soccer. He’s so famously successful in his sport with many accomplishments and awards. I would ask him many questions like “What kind of struggles have you encountered with your rise to being one of the best athletes in the world?” or “What do you do to prepare for a game or if you are ever nervous?”
6. What is your pre-game ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a game?
My game day routine consists of waking up at 8:30 a.m. and always eating the same nutritious breakfast. I go to serve and pass around 11:00 a.m. to get a few touches on the ball before the game and then go home and have small lunch and watch some game tape and some video of myself. Then I make my pre-game meal, which is usually a rice bowl or pasta bowl. I always go to the gym earlier than everyone else around 3:30 to have half an hour alone to visualize, roll out and listen to music. Then everyone shows up, and I go get therapy done on my back and get taped if I need anything taped. At 4:45 I go out to the gym to roll-out with the team and then at 5:00, warm-up starts.
7. What’s your go-to song to get pumped up for practice or a game?
‘Till I Collapse’ by Eminem is my favorite pump up song
8. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
The Warriors Volleyball @warriorswvb Instagram account is my favorite account to follow!
9. If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
I would play soccer. I played from 5 years old till 18 and loved it but fell in love with volleyball more.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you as an athlete?
During a game against Brock in my second year, I started a spike approach and my shoe fell off mid approach. First I fell over, and then I had to play in my sock until the rally was over and it wasn’t a short rally!