At six feet, two inches, Megan Linton could have been a model. She says she’s heard it before but has always been more into sports.
She does, however, show off her new University of Oklahoma hoodie with a flair Tyra Banks would be jealous of.
At 17, the St. Mary’s Academy student is graduating this week and will head five states south in early July to start training and classes.
"I’ve always wanted to move away for school," said Linton. "It’s good. I like the heat a lot."
Linton mostly likes the heat because it means more training for her.
"Here the season is only four months," said Linton. "Plus we’re always battling flooding."
When not on the water or at a rowing machine, Linton is dedicated to lifting weights and running in the mornings.
"I love working out in the morning," said Linton. "There is nothing better than, after a great workout, eating a huge breakfast. Some girls are like ‘that’s like 1,800 calories,’ but I definitely work for it."
Linton rows for the Manitoba Rowing Association but trains at the Winnipeg Rowing Club. She missed a lot of school this year because of her competition schedule, as well as visiting schools that offered her scholarships.
"The support has been really good," said Linton of her teachers at St. Mary’s. "In the first term I missed 32 English classes because I was away every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday visiting schools."
Linton talked to seven schools and visited four. Of the four she visited all offered her a full scholarship.
"It was so stressful," said Linton. "I didn’t even think I’d have to make a decision to where I was going to. I thought I’d be lucky just to get one."
Using her love of math and the help of her accountant father, they used charts and algorithms to make a final decision.
"I always kind of knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to go to Oklahoma," said Linton. "It’s got a big university in a small town, and they’ve got a great football team. I love football."
In addition to the great football, the university has invested into their rowing program with a new training centre and despite being a five-year-old team, it made it to championships this past year.
Obviously talented, Linton credits training hard, but because of the lack of girls at her skill level, Linton trains either alone or with the senior mens’ group.
Linton says it can give her an advantage because men row differently than women.
"It’s kind of nice because there is no cattiness that there can be between girls," said Linton.
"Plus I’m around girls all the time (at school) so I think it’s kind of nice to just be with other people."
Heading to an all-girl rowing team, Linton knows training with girls is something she’ll have to get used to.
Linton is heading to Oklahoma mid-July to start training and courses. Linton said many athletes study during the summer to ease course loads, and finish in four years instead of the available five.
She will be studying the sciences and though she would love to represent Canada someday, like her idol Janine Hanson, she eventually would like to become a doctor.
While Linton is excited to head down south, her parents are a little worried about the weather conditions.
"I think after the tornadoes they’ve been a little nervous."