February 16, 2012

No. 3 Bulldogs To Get An Early Start This Spring

Headed South To Compete In First Regatta This Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It has been three full months since the Yale coed varsity sailing team put its boats in the shed and wrapped things up for winter.  While it seems like winter has yet to come, the Bulldog sailors sincerely hope that it is not just delayed because, for some of the team, practice is scheduled to recommence on Thursday.  Last year the team couldn't even consider on-the-water practice until more than two weeks later than this; however, not only does the weather seem more cooperative this year, but the team is scheduled to compete in its first regatta this upcoming weekend.  Two coed skippers and two crews will be flying to Charleston, S.C., on Friday evening to get there in time for the Charleston Spring Intersectional, which is to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday.   

The team heading south for the weekend will be made up of sophomore skipper Chris Segerblom, junior crew Heather May, freshman skipper Graham Landy and junior crew Zachary Foreman.  Segerblom and May will be racing in A division while Landy and Foreman will racing in B division. 

Three months out-of-season is not an insubstantial amount of time away from training.  Yet, the opportunity to commit to other activities during that time off is generally very valuable to Yale sailors, who practice four days a week and compete nearly every weekend in both fall and spring season.  Teams further south, including this weekend's host, the College of Charleston, have been practicing for upwards of three weeks already, but such is the case nearly every year.  Historically though, starting early has never proven itself to be overly advantageous for the teams from warmer regions.  New England teams tend to perform equally as well overall during the spring as they do in the fall.  Nation-wide practice and competition limitations help to monitor this, but a large contributor may also be the north-eastern teams' determination to make up for what seems like, but is not necessarily, lost time.

With that said, Yale's opportunity to start racing more than two weeks early this spring could pay dividends as the season goes on.  When asked to comment on the team having had practically no time to prepare for this weekend's event, Segerblom reported that "at the first regatta of the season the majority of teams will have had close to equally as little practice as we've been able to have."

"Most years we don't get to start sailing until spring break, so the opportunity to start working out the winter kinks early is exciting," he said. 

Speaking of working out, the Yale sailing team might not have been able to get on the water during the winter months, but on land it has been putting in more offseason hours in the weight room than ever before.  The team's trend towards more physical training began in the fall when it started lifting three mornings a week in addition to afternoon practices.  There seems to be a general consensus amongst team members that the added focus on getting in shape has been beneficial.  Landy, a freshman on the team who will be skippering B division this weekend, noted that his favorite part about team workouts is the ice baths that he has been taking after lifting on Fridays.

Whether a result of the new training regimen or not, the coed team had a significant amount of success in the fall and looks to continue this into the spring.  Highlights of the fall season included, the team's season-long, top-three national ranking, winning both the NEISA Men's Singlehanded Championship and the ICSA Men's National Singlehanded Championship, winning the four-division Navy Fall Intersectional in Annapolis, Md., a third-place finish at the Schell Trophy and fifth at the season finale Atlantic Coast Championship. 

This weekend marks the beginning of what could be a more than three-and-a-half-month-long spring season if the Bulldogs qualify for Nationals.  Follow their results in Charleston on TechScore.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity