August 28, 2011

Women’s Team Rigged and Ready for the Fall Season

Ranked No. 1 in Preseason Polls

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This past Wednesday the Yale women's sailing team reconvened, after a long summer break, at the Payne Whitney Gymnasium to get medically cleared for the upcoming season.  Joining the team for the first time were four new faces from the incoming freshman class.  The new talent was warmly welcomed by the rest of the Bulldogs as well as by the trainers at the gym, whom not only gave the athletes physical examinations, but also put them through their first workout of the fall season.  Furthermore, Wednesday also brought the announcement of Sailing World's preseason college sailing rankings.  Heading into the fall season, the Yale Bulldogs are currently sitting on top of the coaches' polls as the number one women's team in the nation.

Much of the reason for this strong initial rating probably has to do with the fact that Yale lost very few key players to graduation after last season.  All-American crews Liz Brim '11 and Blair Belling '11 will be missed for their experience and their leadership roles on the team, but, other than them, last season's entire fifth place squad from the nationals is returning for the 2011-2012 season.  All-American skipper and Women's College Sailor of the Year Finalist, Claire Dennis, will be returning for just her third year at Yale.  Also, skipper Marlena Fauer, who was named New England's Rookie Women's Sailor of the year and who finished third in B division at the 2011 nationals for the Bulldogs, is back for her sophomore year. 

In addition to all the experience garnered by last year's young team, this year's freshman class brings the Bulldogs some very promising talent.  This past summer, incoming freshman skipper Morgan Kiss brought home a silver medal from the ISAF Youth World Championships in Zadar, Croatia.  Also, the other incoming freshman skipper, Urska Kosir, an international student from Slovenia, is the 2009 Laser 4.7 Youth World Champion.  Freshman crews Kate Gaumond and Sarah Smith have some favorable dinghy racing experience as well and are already showing that they can hang with the upperclassmen on the water at practice.

With still more than two days until classes even begin and almost two weeks before the first regatta of the season, the Bulldogs already have three productive days of practice under their belts.  Day one of preseason training provided the sailors with a steady fifteen knots of breeze and surfing conditions in three to four foot swells.  The freshman got to experience the heavy-air, open water conditions that few other schools' venues offer.  Day two was quite the opposite and the Bulldogs got the chance to break in their light-air 420 boat-handling.  With moderate winds on the third day, Friday, the team has already gotten to practice in a full range of conditions.

Practice will recommence on Wednesday, along with the first day of academic courses.  From then on, the Bulldogs will be back in their weekly routine, practicing Tuesday through Friday and traveling to compete on weekends.  Yet there is still plenty of time for the women to work off any rust before competition.  Their first regatta of the season is scheduled for September 10th and 11th up on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.   

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity

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