Humbly describing herself as "a girl with a pickup truck and big muscles" doesn't quite capture the essence of JENNIFER DEVINE, who'll begin competing in the Olympic single sculls in Athens next week. Sure, you're more likely to see her casually biking through Fremont to her favorite coffee shop rather than climbing out of a limo in Belltown. "It's too fashionable for me," she protests. But don't let that modesty fool you—not only is this her second trip to the games (she also made the squad in '96), but she completed her M.D. last year at the U-Dub (where she also got her undergraduate degrees but didn't row for the Huskies). And she plays piano. And she speaks four languages. And she's got strong, shapely arms that most women—and quite a few men—would kill for.
The Portland native moved back to Seattle, which she now considers home, to continue training and prepare for med school in 1997. She previously lived here as an undergraduate during the late '80s—enough time away to note the upscaling of the city. "It's a bummer to see the casualness go away" from some old haunts, she notes. One sign of change? "More yachts" moored along the Ship Canal and other training loops from the Pocock Rowing Center (located just beneath the south end of the University Bridge). "It was nice to be part of a working harbor," she says of her daily training routine, "taking inventory of all the fishing vessels."
What's the best part of her taxing routine, those early, early mornings on the water, those long hours with the oars? "To enter into people's lives, in a strange way, though the water." Rowing by houseboats and pleasure yachts and lakefront homes so quietly and so early, she's treated to the smells of bacon and coffee from other people's breakfasts—and not a few people stumbling out of bed to their front windows completely naked. (OK, maybe that's not always a benefit.)
After the Olympics, Devine will begin her first year of residency in rehabilitation medicine at the UW, followed by three years of training in Boston. "I really hope to come back," she says of her favorite local watery haunts. "I'm definitely sort of hydrophilic. Why would anyone want to leave?" George Pocock Rowing Center: 3320 Fuhrman Ave. E., 206-328-7272, www.pocockrowing.org
Jennifer Devine's Picks
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD: Fremont. "It's close to the water," obviously a big part of her life. She's also fond of the Fremont Outdoor Movies and old Red Door tavern. But she concedes that, with scant free time, "I don't go anywhere anymore."
BEST GYM: Fremont's Sound Mind and Body, where she can lift weights with a view of the Ship Canal.
BEST GROCERY STORE: Ballard Market—usually reached by bike. "I'm not big on driving places."
BEST COFFEE SHOP: Cafe Ladro in the middle of Fremont, where she studied for her medical board exams. No surprise—she passed.
BEST CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Dave Matthews—in Fremont, of course. At Cafe Ladro, of course.
BEST BAKERY: Le Fournil on Eastlake, conveniently located across the street from the boathouse. Even while earning her Olympic berth in Lucerne, she sighs of the Swiss croissants, "They weren't the same."
BEST TRAINING ROUTE—WET: The "Tour du Locks." From the Pocock shell house out Lake Union to the Chittenden locks and back. "It's a lot of K."
BEST TRAINING ROUTE—DRY: The Burke-Gilman Trail to Marymoor Park and back.
BEST PUBLIC POOL: The salt-water Colman Pool in West Seattle.
BEST BIKE SHOP: Wright Bros. Cycle Works in Fremont, where, she says, owner Charles Hadrann "doesn't laugh at you if you have an old bike."
BEST SOLITARY BREAK FROM TRAINING: Practicing Schubert Impromptus at home.
BEST FUTURE INDULGENCES: When she returns to Seattle to begin her medical career—"I just want to live close to the water." What about a fancy car or Bösendorfer piano? "I'd be happier with an older Steinway. I gotta pay off my debts."
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