DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke rowing team prepares for the ACC Championships Sunday, May 12. Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior coxswain Ashleigh Anne McKinney to learn more about the Augusta, Ga.,native.
GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest moment at Duke?
Ashleigh Anne McKinney: I would last spring season when we beat Virginia at ACCs in the four. Just that season in general was a really proud moment because I had come such a long way and started from a lower level and just figured things out as far as coxswaining goes. It just kind of clicked that spring season. I was in the four and it was really strong. We had a really good boat dynamic. We worked hard and had a lot of accomplishments, but also had a lot of fun.
GoDuke.com: What’s something a lot of people don’t know about rowing?
AAM: They don’t know what coxswaining is and – I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining – but people don’t respect the position of coxswain because they don’t understand what it is. They just think that we sit in the boat and yell and that we have an easy way out. Also, rowing looks like a pretty, beautiful, easy sport, but it’s a lot of work and you use your whole body. People don’t understand how much hard work it is and the time commitment.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite class at Duke?
AAM: The social dance class that we took. That was so much fun because we were with all of our friends – like fifteen of us. I took social dance in high school for five years, so it kind of brought back all of those memories and songs I used to dance to. It was like a little piece of home that I could bring to Duke and something that I already knew how to do. It was fun relearning the dances and just having fun. I love the waltz and the fox trot because they’re smooth dances.
GoDuke.com: What are your favorite TV shows to watch?
AAM: Modern family, Grey’s Anatomy, 30 Rock and the Walking Dead. That’s my recent one, it’s my favorite show.
GoDuke.com: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?
AAM: Probably my dad’s mac and cheese, my grandmother’s collard greens and I’m not going to say fried chicken, but it is fried chicken. A typical southern meal or barbecue, like a pulled pork sandwich.
GoDuke.com: If you were a superhero what superpower would you want?
AAM: Being invisible. I think that’d be the coolest because then you could sneak around and mess with people and I think that’d be fun.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite midnight snack?
AAM: Chocolate. Something chocolate. I love chocolate and it doesn’t matter what kind.
GoDuke.com: What’s one possession you can’t live without?
AAM: My stuffed rabbit that I sleep with every night. His name is Ra-Ra. He’s a boy even though he’s pink. I got him when I was born and named him Ra-Ra because I couldn’t say rabbit, but that’s the one thing I have to have.
GoDuke.com: What person(s) has been the biggest influence on your life and what have they taught you?
AAM: I would definitely say my mother. She has been through a lot and whenever I’m going through something difficult or just trying to figure things out, I always talk to her first. She has a really good head on her shoulders and is just a really, really strong person. I know that I can get through anything just based on what she’s been through. She strengthens me and I strengthen her, so we feed off of each other and build each other up.