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Crimson Characters: Sailing's Megan Watson

Editor's Note:
The feature story below on women's sailing senior captain Megan Watson, is part of a year-long commitment to highlight Harvard's captains and other intriguing student-athletes. For more question-and-answer features click here and enjoy the high-caliber student-athletes whom we have come to enjoy.

After four years with the Harvard women's sailing team, her last spent as captain, senior Megan Watson closed out her season as an ICSA All-America selection. Watson has previously received honors on the honorable mention list and is a three-time All-New England.

She competed in the ICSA Women's National Championship where she along with her teammates claimed 10th overall in San Francisco, Calif. Her presence and shadow will be missed at the boathouse, but her legacy will be remembered among the Crimson sailors.

What is your area of concentration at Harvard?
History and Literature

How has it prepared for life when you graduate?
History and Literature emphasizes teaching its students how to analyze, research, think critically, and express oneself eloquently in both speech and text. More importantly, the intense requirements have really taught me to constantly push myself and strive to meet high expectations.

How have your studies helped you athletically? How have athletics helped you academically?
It is a notoriously demanding concentration, so I think that it has coupled nicely with the intensity needed to succeed on the water. Both have demanded excellence and have encouraged me to improve through hard work and dedication.

How did you get started in sailing? How old were you?
I started sailing when I was eight years old. Neither of my parents are big sailors, but they enrolled me in the local summer sailing program with my cousin to keep us busy that summer. I had so much fun out on the water and met so many new friends that I came back the next summer... and the next... and the next...

If you could crew for a famous captain of fiction, who would it be?
Well my favorite captain of fiction is Conrad's Marlow, but I think that crewing for him in the Congo/South Seas would probably include several traumatic and perhaps deadly experiences. So maybe being on Jack Sparrow's ship would be a little more fun.

If you could be any Disney character for a week, who would you be?

I've always really wanted to fly so any character who is capable of that - Peter Pan, maybe? I'm also a girl so the whole tights thing would be slightly more acceptable.

How many different types of knots can you tie? Which knot is your favorite?
Enough to make sure that sails and rigging don't come crashing down on me when I'm out on the water. The bowline is a unanimous choice for the favorite - fun to tie, very secure, and easy to untie when you want.

You were active in other sports in high school, which sport do you miss the most?
I miss playing lacrosse. If sailing weren't a spring sport, I would have liked to play club/JV lacrosse here.

Other than sailing of course, which Harvard sport do you most enjoy watching?
Unfortunately, the sailing schedule is rather inhospitable to watching other teams. I really wish that I could have seen my roommate Bailey Vertovez play softball more.

Graduation is rapidly approaching, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
My plans until graduation include No. 1 trying to win a National Championship and No. 2 spending as much time as I can with my roommates and friends.

If you could leave this weekend to sail to another country, where would it be?
Well I have zero interest in sailing anywhere in the whole world this weekend other than San Francisco (where our National Championships are!). However, if we could bump the itinerary back a couple weeks, I'd love to sail someplace in the Mediterranean where the water is warm, the wind is good and the waves are big. I've actually never sailed outside of the country, so I don't have too many specific ideas.

Rank the three major sports teams in Boston (Bruins, Celtics and Sox) in order of your preference. Why is your No. 1 team No. 1?
No. 1 Celtics
No. 2 Sox
No. 3 Bruins
The Celtics are number one because we have season tickets.

Which class has been the hardest for you all semester long?
My thesis! (Which translates to my senior tutorial).

Which final was the toughest this semester?
My oral exam for History and Literature - I was responsible for the past 400 years of British and American history and also every text I've read for the concentration in college! Glad that one's over...

Obviously the sailing team is full of talent and the captain always knows best. If you could take all the members of the sailing team and join another team at Harvard with all of them, which would Harvard Sailing dominate in?
Difficult question because we have such a diverse group of people - from tiny girls to big boys. Perhaps skiing? We could use all of our sailing gear to keep us warm and we're used to the cold.

What's the last good movie that you saw in theatres?
I've only seen two movies this past year in theatres - Slumdog Millionaire and Adventureland - and both were great.

What's your favorite spot in Massachusetts?
North Falmouth, Cape Cod! But shhhh, don't tell the tourists.

Pick your poison, Cookies n' Cream or Cookie Dough ice cream?
Tough. Cookie Dough.

What will you miss most when you are all finished here at Harvard?
Everything! I will miss the people the most - never again will I get to live with eight of my best friends in a room overlooking the river and never again will I get to sail (almost) everyday with my teammates and coaches in the Charles River Basin watching the sun go down behind the Mass. Avenue bridge. Now you've made me sad.