Trinity Tripod Athlete of the Week: Cristina Pretto ’16

As the weather gets warmer, so does the water, and the Trinity College Women’s Rowing Team is ready to take advantage of it. After a successful fall showing last year, the team is preparing for their first meet in Gainsville, Fl. One of the contributing members of this team is Cristina Pretto ’16, whose previous accomplishments have been impressive. During her sophomore year, Pretto won multiple silver medals on the second varsity team, and during her junior year she rowed the for the bronze-medal winning first varsity eight at the ECAC National Invitational Collegiate Regatta and the NCAA National Champion varsity-eight crew at the Division III Championships.
Pretto’s athletic inspiration initially came from her father. “He taught me a lot about dedication and passion for competition. Although it can be irritating, the man is not easily impressed. The second I tell him about a personal best in lifting, erging, or on the water performance, he is asking me how I am going to do even better the next time. It has really made me a better athlete because he instilled in me that I have no limits.”
Pretto carried this mentality into her athletics, when she originally played soccer. “The plan was always to play soccer in college. I had some exciting recruiting offers but I had enough concussions by my sophomore year that I was told that I would likely not be able to compete in college. The AD at my prep school had a daughter who rowed and told me about some opportunities to be a ‘recruited novice’ as a rower. I started contacting crew coaches and telling them my story and that’s how I ended up at my first school, the College of the Holy Cross. Playing three varsity sports my freshman year of high school prepared me for rowing because I was thrown into teams I did not know at all with girls that were more advanced than me. I knew from that experience that I needed to take in as much as I could from the upperclassman because learning from them saves you a lot of stress in the future.”
This experience has certainly been adapted by Pretto in her senior year. In this fall season, Pretto and her teammates placed first in two out of four meets, beating Division I schools like UCONN and Coast Guard. Recently, Pretto broke Trinity’s 2k record, which she remembers fondly. “For rowing, there is really only one event: the 2k. Everyone does the test and everyone is trying to be fastest in it. The record was set a really long time ago and it was awesome to set a new time.”
Needless to say, Pretto’s father wanted even more. “After I told my dad about my new time, he responded “Yeah, now just break the record on the men’s team”. Pretto also has fond memories with last year’s team as well. “For my ‘team’ most exciting moment, it would be winning NCAAs last year. I can’t really describe it. It is one of those moments that leaves you speechless every time you think about it”
With a new season on the rise, Pretto has high hopes for her crew, despite what others are predicting. “My outlook on the season is that Trinity is going to put out strong, determined boats. We are so hungry to show people what we can do. Somehow we are always the underdogs. Williams had won NCAA every year so we had no shot (then we won). The next year we graduated 16 fantastic seniors, so we had no shot (then we won). This year we sadly lost our head coach and I have no idea exactly what this season holds but I love it when people tell me we can’t do something.”Surely, Pretto and the crew will do their best to succeed in the John Hunter Regatta on March 19th.

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