Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Collge Sailor's Life: Back in the swing of things

By Kelly Stannard

After switching it up last weekend with team racing in Houston, I’m back in Rhode Island and hitting the college circuit once again. Let me just say this week has been a bit chilly compared to the beautiful weather in Texas. I wore my dry suit to practice the last two days! They say it’ll warm up again in time for the weekend where I’ll be headed to the University of Rhode Island for the Moody Trophy.

I’ll be crewing for Alec Anderson in A division, Tyler Macdonald and Samantha Bobo will be sailing B division and if the breeze picks up we have two awesome “heavies” Tyler Wilson and Jake Bartlein. This will be an intersectional event with 11 berths from NEISA, 4 from MAISA, and 3 other invites. It will be interesting to see what conditions URI brings us this weekend. The last time I was there was for the New England Qualifier for Semi Finals in the spring and it was the windiest regatta I have ever seen in college sailing. I don’t expect this weekend to be nearly as crazy!

Getting ready for the weekends isn’t always just about on the water practice. Our team also has a fitness component to our schedule. We have morning work outs every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7 A.M. and it’s expected that everyone will try to get to the gym on their own time as well. We mix it up with what we do, on Tuesday for example we played a game of water polo. I personally just tread water and try not to get pushed under by the stronger more aggressive swimmers on the team! Not only is it a great work out its wildly entertaining to see a pool full of sailor’s attempting to play water polo. Over all we focus a lot on cardio endurance and core strength. To see that we are all on track with our fitness goals our coach, Amanda Callahan, administers a fitness test once a month.

It just so happens that she surprised us with one yesterday morning; these are our teams’ favorite at 7 A.M.! The fitness test consists of a timed 2 mile run, max amount of push-ups and sit-ups we can do and timed wall sit. For those who have bad knees or ankles the bike is the alternative to the 2 mile and you go for max distance within 20 minutes. To evaluate our tests our coach compares our numbers to those of the Army fitness scores and percentiles expected in our age group. For example to earn 100% in sit-ups you have to be able to do 80. Not only does she grade these she expects that we improve our scores over time. I wish she still had my first score sheet as a freshman four years ago to see how far I have come!

Lots of non-sailors don’t understand why you need to be physically fit to sail but anyone who has sailed dinghies competitively knows that after a long day in big breeze if you’re out of shape, you probably didn’t post any impressive finishes!

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