Three years ago at 16yrs I left my home and friends at my Sydney based school with an opportunity to pursue my dream to to become an Olympic sailor. As most of my competitors were nearly twice my age I took the approach that I would take in everything I could and learn as much as possible. My dream became very real for me about a year ago when as bowman we won the gold medal at the Weymouth Sail for Gold World Cup event last year held at the 2012 Olympic venue. This success continued with our ensuing competitions and we rose to become the world’s no.1 ranked women’s match racing team by the end of last season, also the first time for Australia.
Being a part of that team as bowman 1 year ago, I gained the knowledge of what it was like to win. Since then, I have wanted nothing else. A little over a month ago I was afforded an opportunity to skipper (helm) a new team with my crew Nina Curtis (23) from Avalon on the Northern Beaches, in the middle and Lucinda Whitty (21) from Longueville, on the bow. Despite being the youngest sailor, skipper and crew combination on the world circuit, and after only four regattas we won the Nations Cup Qualifier and World Cup bronze medal in Kiel, Germany resulting in my team’s qualification and selection to this Pre-Olympic event.
We are still in the development stages of learning, with our preparation for the Pre-Olympics being very detailed in drills and experimental in maneuvers. I am currently in Weymouth, UK, the Olympic Venue, where our training continues against top international competition to gain experience and knowledge of the conditions here, and of course our competitors. We next travel to the Australian Institute of Sport’s European Training Centre in Varese, Italy for a week long camp of physical preparation, strength sessions, group bike rides and other various fitness testing. Match racing is the longest in duration of all the disciplines and number of races with potentially up to 25 races to win the gold medal, so we will have to be careful to maintain endurance and keep energy in the bank for each and every race day.
The Olympic Test Event is one of our two peak events of the year. 460 sailors make up the 331 teams who are set to sail at the venue of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition in 10 disciplines over the two-week regatta. The racing for Women’s Match Racing will start on my 19th birthday, 2nd August with the finals being raced on the 11th August.
My goal now is to be the youngest female in sailing history to win an Olympic gold medal in London 2012.