Nov. 4, 2013
- Read the November issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPad and iPhone app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Claire Benschoter is a sophomore rower from Hartland, Wis. A pre-nursing major, Benschoter rows starboard side in the 1V8. Her father, Doug, was a lineman for the football Hawkeyes from 1975-78. He also lettered in wrestling in 1976.
Your father Doug was a student-athlete at the University of Iowa (football 1975-78); what advice does he give you on how to be a great Hawkeye?
It starts with team and being a big team player; being a leader and always finding a way to push yourself and keeping a great Hawkeye image that he has brought to me over the years. He has been a great role model, always looking up to him, wanting to be a Hawkeye. It has been my dream to follow in his footsteps and make my father proud.
How good of a rower would your father have been?
He would have been a pretty good rower. The Benschoter’s have great endurance, and he was very strong and mentally tough, so I think that would have panned out for him well.
Tell us about your sport of choice at Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin:
My sport was ice hockey. I played ice hockey 13 years (left wing and some defense), so I played varsity ice hockey all four years in high school. I went from frozen to unfrozen which was different for me, but the adjustment was great. I needed that change in my life, and it turned out to be a fantastic choice.
Did you envision yourself as a Division I college student-athlete?
I knew I wanted to do something athletic when I went to college, even if it was a club team. I had known sports my whole life and I knew going from competing in athletics — sometimes three sports a year — would be crazy if I cut myself off. I was interested in finding something I would be able to do and stick with.
What has been your biggest adjustment to becoming a rower?
“My sport was ice hockey. I played ice hockey 13 years (left wing and some defense), so I played varsity ice hockey all four years in high school. I went from frozen to unfrozen which was different for me, but the adjustment was great. I needed that change in my life, and it turned out to be a fantastic choice.”
UI sophomore rower
My physical fitness. I thought I was in great shape as a hockey player and I did not realize how much of a full-body workout rowing gives you. It got me in the greatest shape of my life, and I can’t say enough about the sport — I am in love and it will be with me for the rest of my life.
Was your father being an alumnus the biggest force that pulled you to school at the University of Iowa?
He never pressured me, that was the great thing. He never pressured me on schools or athletics. It was more of me being raised around Iowa — my family is from northern Iowa, and it felt like home. My dad always brought us to the games when we were little. Coming on campus it was very familiar; I felt comfortable being a Hawkeye.
What steps were involved before you landed on the Hawkeye rowing roster?
I was looking into athletic opportunities and I looked at rowing. They described the ideal athlete around 5-foot-8 to 6-2, long, lengthy, tall, athletic build and I thought I could try this and possibly be very good; maybe do a sport my body is meant for. I called the coaches and talked to them, gave them information about myself and got the ball rolling.
Have you settled on an area of study?
Pre-nursing. Currently I will apply in the program in the spring.
What things do you hope to learn from being a member of the UI rowing team?
With coach (Andrew) Carter coming in with experience and knowledge, I am already learning so much from him. He is a great mentor. Technically and motivationally, he is everything you could ask for in a coach. Physically becoming bigger, faster, stronger every day is what I’m pushing for. I am hoping to come out in the high rankings of the Big Ten Championships this year. That’s what we’re looking forward to.
What do you like most about being part of this sport and this program?
The sense of family we have here. We hang out on weekends, we’re best friends. It’s always good, it feels like family, a great support system. We flow well together, we have gone through tough times together and persevered through everything.
Has anything surprised you about college or Iowa City during your time on campus?
Not really surprises, just managing classes and getting it down, getting in a routine, getting back to focusing and getting back into the routine of everything.
When your season has concluded, what has to occur in order for you to consider it a success?
Goal-wise, to see an improvement on how we finished in the Big Ten last year. We put in blood, sweat, and tears every day working our butts off twice a day usually. I would love to see an improvement, not only at the Big Ten level, but on the national level. Personally, get my erg times faster, becoming more efficient on the water, learning all the great techniques coach Carter has to offer us. All those things will make us a better, faster team.