There's only so many training hours you can spend in a swimming pool; that's why Olympic medalist Megan Jendrick fills her dry-dock time in World of Warcraft. Surprised to find an Olympian such as Megan in WoW? The very private Jendrick likes it that way. WoW is her private time to destress, let her hair down and turn the laser focus of a champion to something entirely entertaining.
"My first main character was a moonkin druid, which I actually started because I thought it was funny that they had aquatic form," she laughs. "Then I started playing a rogue when I got more into PvP, because I didn't want to heal for arena. I had to go with DPS, because I think I'm just a little too competitive to have to rely on someone else to win matches."
15 Minutes of Fame: What's your WoWstyle – hardcore raider, casual raider, PvP, RP, altaholic, Arena gladiator ...?
Megan Jendrick: I guess I'm kind of a hybrid of various styles of play. I like to raid when I can, but I don't have a lot of time for it, and I'm not always able to log in to get my matches in for the week with PvP. I've been able to get through a lot of content but just never on a really consistent basis.
How did you first get started playing WoW? Have you always been a gamer?
[Update: Jendrick wrote in to correct this chronology after publication. -- Editors] I was never into games until my husband started playing WoW. He actually got to
With such a seasonal lifestyle, do you find that your WoW playing ebbs and flows around training and swim seasons?
I have no consistency whatsoever. That would explain why I'm not in a guild! Everyone wants people who can show up to raids on a regular basis, and I just can't. I have to pug everything, which on my server isn't all that bad, but I know on a lot of lower population realms it would be a nightmare. There have been times where I'll go a month without logging in because I'll be on a training trip or at a meet somewhere internationally where we either didn't have the internet or the connection was just too bad to play.
When you're in training, do you find that WoW is more of a helpful distraction that helps you blow off some steam, or is it more of a hindering distraction that pulls you away from things you feel you should be focusing on?
The thing about training in swimming is that it can get pretty mundane if you don't do anything else. We train seven days a week, up to four hours a day in the water, plus an hour to two hours in the gym and doing other dry land and stretch training. So we're working out up to six hours a day, every day of the week. Especially back when my club team did double training sessions each day, I used to have a pretty regular schedule: Wake up at 3:30 a.m., go swim, go to the gym, come home and eat, work, go back to the pool, swim, come home, eat, work, then sleep. Every day was the same, and in time, it runs you down a bit and you need change. Now that I've done this for 16 years, it's even more important to have some variety. So over the last few years I've started reading a lot more, scrapbooking and of course, playing WoW when I can.
Besides your husband, does anyone else in your family play? What about teammates?
My husband and his friends play, and there are a few other people on the Olympic team that play, but we're not on the same realms.
Are you "out" in game? Do your in-game friends know your identity?
I don't have a guild at the moment, but when I did, no one knew anything about me outside of the game. I'm one of those players who "doesn't have a mic" when it comes to Vent, I don't chat a whole lot, and my character names don't have anything to do with my sport. To the people I play with, I'm just another girl who plays Warcraft.
A kind of funny story dealing with that, though: Right after I got back from Beijing in 2008, I logged in and was just catching up on things, since I hadn't played in more than a month. At the time I was in a guild, and someone brought up the Games and asked me, "So, did you watch any of the Olympics?" I just kind of laughed and said, "A little." I think I was even sitting at my computer wearing some of the outfitting they gave us that said "Beijing 2008" all over it.
What have you been doing in game most recently?
I actually quit raiding for awhile because I was frustrated with how the game has changed lately. When ICC got buffed, I was really annoyed, because it drives me crazy when they "nerf" the game. I think the challenge of raids is what makes WoW so fun, and it's really disappointing to spend a lot of time to learn the strategy for a boss, only to have it suddenly made much easier. Sure, the option to do it without the buff is there in ICC, but it just isn't the same. Other than that I've been doing 2s PvP when I can and trying to get my rating up!
What's on your plate in the Real Life zone?
I'm blessed in that things are always busy, but there is always a lot of good stuff going on. I just signed a new contract with TYR through 2012 which I'm excited about; they're a great company to be a part of as a professional swimmer and I just did a photo shoot with them for their latest products. Other than that, I'm focusing on competing at the National Championships this summer as well as the Pan Pacific Championships, and I also spend a lot of time working on promoting my company, ACQUA.
Any plans for Cataclysm? Will you be playing the expansion?
I'm actually a little back and forth when it comes to being excited about the expansion. There are a lot of changes being made and some significant alterations that I'm not sure are in the best interest of the game. I'm a fan of WoW, to be sure, but I've met a lot of players that think anything Blizzard does is awesome; I'm not one of them. Just like with making encounters easier, there are things that happen that, at least for me, take away the some fun. I'll definitely try out Cataclysm and since I'm not an original WoW player, I think going back and doing all the old raids will be really fun. I'm also, like most people, looking forward to trying out the new classes; I think a goblin could make a cute new character. I'm definitely hoping for the best!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and raiding in person every week.