I finished in 7th place. It is not a great result, but I had some very strong races. There were a few aspects that made the sailing challenging and sometimes frustrating. For one, the racecourse was skewed for a majority of the racing. A skewed course eliminates passing lanes throughout the race and heavily favors boat speed. As may know, light air is not my fastest condition; therefore, I rely on the various passing lanes during the race to chip away at the fleet. Unfortunately, the course didn’t provide many passing lanes and going around the course was somewhat of a parade, i.e. everybody on the same track.
In addition to the skewed racecourse, the course was a bit disproportionate. Generally, each leg, or section of the course, is relatively proportionate to each other taking about 5 – 7 minutes for each. The course that we had at the Pan Am Games was different. For instance, more often than not, the first leg (windward leg) took about 3 - 6 minutes, while the second leg (reach leg) took up to 16 minutes at times! The disproportionate racecourse further eliminated passing lanes in the light air racing.
There were, however, some tactical training benefits that this course provided: Starts were crucial and it was some of the most physically demanding racing I have ever competed in. My starts got progressively better throughout the event (see picture) and the demanding racing gave me a very solid endurance base as I head into my 2011 World Championship buildup.
Looking Forward to Perth, Olympic Trials Continued
The second half of my Olympic trials is in December at the 2011 World Championships in Perth, Australia. I had a very strong first Olympic trials event in June and I am currently 14 positions ahead of my closest American competitor. For me to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, I need to maintain a point advantage in the final standings of the 2011 World Championships. Even though I have a lead, I expect the final event of my Olympic trials to be exponentially more difficult than the first event.
Throughout the last 20 months, I have trained with a variety of very talented sailors providing me with a broad base of training techniques and strategies. Leading up to this event, I have surrounded myself with a strong support group of very talented sailors and I am executing a similar strategy to the one I employed in June: Arrive a month early in Perth to train on site after some solid base training. Currently, I am in Sydney doing some training and adjusting to the Jet lag, which has been more dramatic than I thought. Following my stay in Sydney, I will head to Melbourne for a training regatta, Sail Melbourne, then off to Perth on the 13th. I believe this recipe with my current training group will be an ideal training program leading up to my trials.
Prior to the Pan American Games, I spent some time at home focusing on my strength. I would like to extend a special thank you to Gerry and Nile at Jim Karas Personal Training for helping me with my fitness. This is the strongest I have ever felt on the board.
People who are close to me know first hand how the emotions and the unique stress of Olympic qualification are affecting me. The emotions and the stress didn’t fully materialize until I got back from the Olympic Test Event in August. I have only been competing for a few years now, but going through the emotional stresses that I am currently experiencing has given me a new found respect for what aspiring Olympic athletes battle day in and day out.
The stress is unique in the sense that it is relentless and I won’t be able to alleviate it until after my Olympic selection process. Additionally, I can only train as much as my body will allow, otherwise I step backwards. The most difficult days are my off days. I want to train and continue to make strides toward the ultimate goal; however, resting is just as important as the training and not enough rest is more detrimental than too little training.
I am managing my emotions well. I have been working with a sports psychologist on a regular basis and we have established a variety of techniques to help me stay focused on the job at hand. As with any job, academic event and sporting event, a majority of the variables are uncontrollable. What I am learning is that I need to master the variables that I can control and go into the event knowing that I did everything that I possibly could do to prepare myself. I believe, my current training program will fulfill my World Championship preparation.
More to come from Perth in a few weeks!
Updated on May 21, 2013, 8:56pm