For a country to compete in an Olympic event, their sailors must win one of the entry slots allotted to that event. Some countries specialize in only a few of the ten events, but the USA is required to send representatives in all events which they have qualified.
The USA routinely sent a full squad to the Olympic Games, but in a reflection for how the team has struggled, the country failed to qualify in the Men’s Skiff event (49er boat) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Athlete turnover was the culprit, and despite depth in the event for the Tokyo quadrennial, the teams were new and not yet consistently at the international level. But for Paris 2024, there’s been continuity in the program, with Ian Barrows/ Hans Henken among the returning teams. Here’s an update from the duo:
It’s been a busy few months for us as we’ve been training hard in Miami, Florida in anticipation for the start of the US Olympic Trials in January at the West Marine Miami US Open and in February at the Clearwater US Open.
We’ve been fortunate to have access to both the US Sailing Center in Coconut Grove and Miami Yacht Club in order to prepare, and we’ve been making the most of every opportunity to get on the water.
Over the past three months, we’ve been focusing on a variety of areas as we look to fine-tune our performance and get ready for the trials.
In October, we trained with the current 49er World Champion crew, Floris van der Werken, and it was a truly invaluable experience for our team. Not only did we get the chance to sail with one of the best in the world, but we were also able to learn from his expertise and insights into the sport.
Working with Floris helped to change our attitude towards training, as we were able to see firsthand the level of dedication and commitment required to succeed at the highest levels of the 49er class. His advice helped us to refocus our minds on what it takes to get better, and we came away from the experience with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.
Training with a new coach can be a valuable opportunity to gain new insights and perspectives on your sailing. In November, we had the opportunity to work with Phil Muller and really enjoyed his attitude towards learning new things and his approaches to analyzing the day. His daily pieces of advice were incredibly valuable and we are already incorporating them into our sailing and training routines.
In December, we participated in the US Sailing Team annual training camp, which was a great experience for our team. During the camp, we had access to a number of high-level coaches, including names such as Robert Scheidt, Bruno Prada, and James Lyne, as well as the team’s sport psychologists, Jessica Mohler, and nutritionists, Shelly Guzman. These resources were incredibly valuable to our campaign and could not have come at a better time.
In addition, we worked with team meteorologist, Chelsea Freas, who gave numerous weather briefings and insights into how to develop your own weather knowledge. This knowledge will be crucial as we work to improve our strategies and tactics that we expect to face on the race course in the coming months.
Overall, the Team Camp was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn and grow as sailors. We are grateful for the support of the US Sailing Team and all of the coaches who helped make this experience possible and are excited to put to use all that we are learned into the upcoming year.
Beyond our on-the-water training, we’ve also been putting in a lot of work off the water in developing a 2023 training schedule that we believe will lead us to success.
Our planning includes many things ranging from having a plan in place to optimize our equipment, ensuring that we are making informed decisions based on data and our own experiences, planning training in The Hague in order to give us ample time to prepare for the 49er World Sailing World Championships in August, training at various locations throughout the year to practice weather pattern recognition and linking forecast conditions to racing strategy and finally including a mix of results regattas and process regattas to check in on our own goals and measure ourselves against the international fleet.
Most importantly, our schedule and plan has been designed to maximize training together as a two-boat squad program with our training partners, Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese. We have everything we need “in-house” to be fast and achieve our goals and we are excited to get started!
Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11
Read More:Doing what’s needed for Paris 2024 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News