Name: Annemarie Schwanz
Sport: Cross Country
Year & Major: Graduate Level, Civil Engineering
Hometown: Neuruppin, Germany
JW: Why running?
AS: Well, I mean, I’ve been active my entire life. My family is very active. We’ve done any sport, really. We’ve done a lot of hiking and biking, but I always liked to run as a kid. I joined a club at home and was mainly doing running, but kind of doing everything, too, like jumping and sprinting. Because I have done so many endurance sports in my life, running just fit really well. If you’re stressed, you can just go and run and it’s really relaxing. It makes me feel really good.
JW: If you weren’t participating in cross country, what sport would you be playing?
AS: I would still do track and field because we do that too [in addition to cross country].
JW: Do you have any rituals or certain things you do to prepare for races?
AS: Well, I listen to one certain song. I do that, but besides that it’s not like I really need to eat like, I don’t know, a certain meal. Well, I actually have the breakfast that I always eat. I always have eggs and toast. That’s kind of my thing, I guess. Other than that, not really too much aside from the normal routines we do in practice. Nothing too special.
JW: What song do you listen to?
AS: I listen to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us.” It’s like a seven-minute song, and it gets you really pumped up. I usually do that in the hotel, before we go to the track or to the course.
JW: How did it feel to break the school record for the 6K?
AS: It’s been my first cross country race in 1½ years. I didn’t race cross country last season. First, I didn’t even know that it was a school record until my coach told me, so it was very exciting and I knew it was a PR (personal record). Well, I really didn’t know the exact time, and then I talked to my coaches and they told me it was really fast. They also told me, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, it’s a school record, too.” I’m glad I can get that [record], too.
JW: How did you hear about Fresno State?
Annemarie Schwanz (Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics)
AS: I got recruited from Fresno State by Sean McManus, our old coach. He also recruited another girl from Germany, so it fit very well because I really liked the coach. I didn’t go on a recruiting (visit) so I didn’t really know what to expect here, but it just kind of fit having the comfort of another German girl on your side. The first year was very important to have someone else other than foreign people, I guess. It was good.
JW: What do you miss most about Germany?
AS: Probably my family. I’m a big family person, and we are all very close: my cousins and, of course, my immediate family, my brother and my parents. We have a very close relationship. It’s probably what I miss personally the most. It’s not so much the food, or anything. I guess the smell. I really miss the smell, too. We get the white winters, and it’s just kind of nice. It’s not like Canada where it snows for like four months, but I don’t know it’s just the cold. I miss that.
JW: What’s the best thing about California to you?
AS: I guess that you can run outside in the spring and the fall in shorts and a T-shirt. I like that. You don’t need to, especially for running, have three layers of sweaters on, so that’s nice. The nature here with the mountains and the ocean right there, too. That’s something really nice, and I’m a big nature person so having access to the mountains in an hour or 45 minutes is really nice.
JW: Do you have a favorite American food, or a food specific to California?
AS: I’m not a picky eater, I kind of eat everything. I guess, lots of fruit. I mean we have a lot of fruit at home in Germany, too, of course. We import oranges and bananas from everywhere because we just can’t grow that. I guess all the fresh fruit access at all times is nice, especially because we know it’s actually grown here and not imported.
JW: What do you plan to do once you graduate?
AS: I graduated with my bachelor’s last semester, so I’m now in my master’s program for civil engineering. I have 1½ years left. I’m going to get married next summer, so that’s a big step. We’re going to see where it takes us. Definitely working as a civil engineer and still being involved with Fresno State. Maybe next year when I’m not running anymore or I’m not eligible anymore, but still be involved here and with sports, in general. Then maybe not so much Central Valley after a few years because it’s just kind of hot for me here. Maybe northern California or some of the northern states.
JW: What does it mean to you to be a Bulldog?
AS: It’s good to be part of a great team like that, in general. Just all sports together, not just the cross country team or track and field. We are a very small cross country team, but just the whole atmosphere with all the sports together. I think it functions very well. Everyone has a winning attitude, and I like that.