What is your major/what do you want to do?
I studied human biology and eventually I want to go to graduate school probably to study either nutrition, or nursing— something in the health field.
Where did you grow up/what was your athletic background?
I was lucky enough grew up in the best town in the world, Santa Cruz. (#SorryNotSorry). There really is no place like it. It has mountains, forests, beaches, waves, and my whole huge family — what more could I ask for? Growing up I played basketball, soccer, and volleyball, but stopped these in high school to focus on running.
What made you join the tri team originally?
Going to college I knew I wanted to be on a triathlon team. I have done junior lifeguards on the beach my whole life and love the water so much. I knew I didn’t want to just run cross country and track, because as much as I love running, I didn’t want to dedicate my whole college career to just that. I had friends that did the same thing when they went to school and loved triathlon, so I thought I would try that too.
What is your favourite sport of the three?
Are you sure that’s how you spell favorite? But no, this is really a difficult question to answer. Call me crazy, but I LOVE all three sports. If I had to pick one I’d say swimming.
What’s your favorite workout (any sport)?
I love team rides. No matter how difficult or far, any ride where I get to hang out with some of my favorite people, and explore different parts of San Diego is so much fun.
What race are you most proud of?
Hmm, I’m not really sure. Last year at our conference championships I had no idea where I would place so I set a goal to be in the top 5, and I got 5th. It wasn’t that it was an outstanding race or anything, but it just proved that I was good enough to (sort of) keep up with the top girls in our conference, and was a big wake up for me at that time.
What was the most embarrassing rookie mistake you made?
There’s seriously too many. Just last weekend I messed up the bike course at Irvine, and I’m not even a rookie anymore.
What are your goals for this academic year and triathlon season?
School-wise I’m graduating in a couple months so I’ll just be happy when that happens :) As far as the triathlon season goes, I want to do well at all the collegiate races since it’s my last year. Although I do kind of have them in mind, I hate putting specific times or places as my goals. I do, however, want to make a lot of progress in my swimming this year… and hopefully get out of the water with or near the front group. Not coming from a swimming background I’ve put a lot of work into the sport over the last four years and hopefully it will pay off!
What is one thing no one would guess just looking at you?
Uhh I’m sure there’s something more interesting… But I have 32 first cousins.
Many people have a hard time telling you and Kat Ellis apart…what do you think it is, the bike, the unique swim-cut race suit, the bike, the hair, or what….? And what do you have to say to the people who can’t seem to get you straight?
Haha it’s true. I don’t know… I think it’s sort of a combination of everything. I think the main thing is probably that we spend so much time together. The last 3 years we’ve been joined at the hip. Workouts and triathlon aside. At first I was like “is it really that difficult people?” But I guess I’d probably be confused too.
So Kat…I mean Gina, seriously, what is up with all your Santa Cruz friends being either pro, or borderline elite athletes?! Marissa Ferrante the Collegiate National Champion from 2012, and another friend came in second to Heineck on the bike at Big Kahuna. Do they add something to the water?!
There are actually a lot of my friends who are intense athletes!
- Collegiate nationals (same year as Marissa Ferrante) my friend Saskia was 20th
- My friend Amy Schnittger- 3rd in the country in steeple chase last track season, 10:25.
- Scott Goddard- guy at Big Kahuna in his first year of triathlon (2nd on bike behind Heineck)
- Tommy Zaferes- looking to make the 2016 olympics in triathlon
- Just last year there were 3 girls from my old high school under 4:45 in the mile
- I could go on forever…
I’ve actually thought about this before too haha. I don’t know what it is, but it is kind of ridiculous for such a small town. When I’m with my close group of friends at home I don’t consider myself ‘fast’ by any means. Santa Cruz is full of such talented athletes. The surfing and outdoor community is huge there, and I think that probably contributes to the overall active lifestyle and competition. I guess. Or yeah, maybe they add something to the water.