Music to Jane Collymore's Ears
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 11, 2010) – Jane Collymore (Seattle) has built up a solid resume on the volleyball court, including time spent with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team since May 2005. However, her resume has been bridging into more areas than just on the volleyball court in recent years.
Collymore is a three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American while playing at the University of Florida. As a senior in 2005, she was named AVCA All-America First Team and repeated her junior accomplishment of being named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. By the time she ended her career with the Gators, she had over 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs and ranked among the top 10 in 51 different statistical categories in Florida’s records book.
After her collegiate career, Collymore donned the red, white and blue of Team USA and played in three tournaments in 2006 including the Pan American Cup, FIVB World Grand Prix and TV Azteca Cup in Mexico. She totaled 10 points versus Brazil during the Pan American Cup, then added nine points in a second meeting against Brazil during the 2006 FIVB World Grand Prix. Collymore was the prime American offensive threat at the TV Azteca Cup, where she was the second leading scorer among all players in the tournament with 77 points, including double-figure scoring in all five matches and a 23-point effort against Peru.
Collymore’s life made a dramatic shift in 2007 when she took a hiatus from the sport of volleyball and left the U.S. Women’s National Team. Thereafter, she began pursuing a professional music career, along with time spent in front of the camera modeling for print ads and television commercials.
“Initially what drew me to music was the lure of freedom of expression,” Collymore said. “There's seemingly less structure in art than perhaps on a sports team. Now that I’ve spent parts of my life on both sides of the fence, I can honestly say that art and athletics, like most other fields, probably require a blend of both right and left hemispheres to achieve success.”
During Collymore’s break from volleyball, she could be found playing folk songs in the Seattle coffeehouses and fronting rock bands. In 2008, she opened for The Presidents of the USA and Sir Mix A Lot at some of Washington state’s premier music venues, including The Showbox and Napavine Ampitheather. She won a licensing deal and first place in a songwriting contest.
As a one-woman band, Collymore has self-produced five tracks on her debut EP labeled “The Garden,” which was released at the start of 2010. The album is characterized as a melodic tribute to synth pop with alternative and folk undertones. Fans can listen to two of her songs off “The Garden” plus a third song at www.JaneCollymore.com, or purchase the full EP for under $5 on her Web site’s store.
Collymore traces her musical roots to her childhood. She took classical piano lessons, gave recitals at Pepperdine University and was exposed to a variety of musical genres at an early age.
“I grew up listening to the likes of Mozart and Enya, and dancing to Michael Jackson videos in our living room," Collymore said.
She credits a change in environment as kick-starting her self-exploration through poetry. While at the University of Florida, Collymore taught herself to play the guitar. During this time period, she began writing and producing songs, calling this creative process a “nice counterbalance to athletics.”
However, 2009 became a time to mix volleyball and music together. After a chance meeting early last year with Hugh McCutcheon, who was just named the U.S. Women’s National Team head coach at the time, the desire to play volleyball again was re-ignited.
With her music career taking off, Collymore returned to the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team in 2009, and had some shining moments despite her time off away from the elite level of play. She averaged 3.58 points per set with a 55.0 kill percent and .450 hitting efficiency during 12 sets played in 2009. During the deciding match of the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament against Costa Rica on July 8 with a spot on the line to the 2010 event, Collymore scored 15 kills on 27 attempts, two aces and a block for 18 points to advance Team USA into the 2010 FIVB World Championship.
Collymore has been a fan of what McCutcheon and assistant coach Karch Kiraly have brought to the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“I have been thrilled with the level of coaching,” Collymore said. “Hugh and Karch have brought in lots of technical expertise, along with a lot of character to the program that I respect.”
At one point in 2009, McCutcheon pulled Collymore off to the side during a training session and expressed a unique and memorable desire.
“Hugh told me he’d love for me to find a way to bring the same level of freedom I find through music to the court,” Collymore recounted of a discussion with McCutcheon. “I thought it was a pretty cool thing for a coach to say. He’s very communicative and finds ways to help the players explore their individual potential, and I appreciate that.”
While 2009 was a year for her to return to the court, her season was not without pain that started all the way back in 2006.
“I suffered a hip injury that resulted in a great deal of pain,” Collymore said. “I had a hip impingement, which occurs when abnormally shaped bone causes damage from repetitive contact at the joint edge.”
Last October, Collymore relented to the pain and had hip surgery performed in Seattle. After some time spent at the USA National Team Center rehabbing in January 2010, she returned to Seattle to have a second surgery on Feb. 3 to repair the right hip.
“I hope to be back with the National Team by mid-summer,” Collymore said. “In late April or early May, I will be able to start jumping again.”
At the same time, she realizes the road to recovery is a matter of patience that cannot be rushed.
“The process of rehabilitation is about baby steps, daily consistency and lots of patience,” Collymore said. “But the surgery was definitely worth it.”
When she does return to the team, Collymore expressed that volleyball will be her first priority, while music will be something she continues to do during her down-time. She already has one thing to look forward to this summer, something that rarely comes along at the elite level of volleyball.
Collymore’s sister, Jill, joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in January 2010 after a standout collegiate career at the University of Washington. Jill recently competed in a training trip to China that included an exhibition match and scrimmage against Evergrande Volleyball Club, a pro team that included four Olympians and coached by 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Head Coach “Jenny” Lang Ping, and a scrimmage against a pro team from Hong Kong. During the trip, Jill played in nine sets racking up 35 points for a 3.89 points per set average. She contributed 27 kills on 52 attempts with just 10 errors for a .327 hitting efficiency, along with five blocks and two aces.
“It was really fun to be with Jill last month (at the USA National Team Center),” the elder Collymore sister said. “We have never played together on the same team other than a pickup match, so it was a mini-dream come true. It has been fun to watch Jill’s progression in the game.”
Like Jane, Jill has a penchant for creating with the right hemisphere of the brain. She was a double major at the University of Washington in honors psychology and honors digital arts. Jill is a concert pianist having played with a symphony orchestra four times. Further, she is a creator, leader and teacher of a cartooning course.
With her own anticipation of being 100 percent healthy and back on the court by mid-summer, Jane Collymore dreams of the moment both her and her sister wearing the USA jersey playing against the top international teams in the world using the analytical left hemisphere of the brain needed to score points on the court.
Now that would be music to her ears.