Women's Sailing Earns Berth to National Championship Semi-Finals
Arlington, Mass.—(4/28/13)—The Women's Sailing Team finished 8th at the Reed Trophy for the New England Women's Championship hosted by Tufts University this past weekend. In doing so, Coast Guard also earned a berth to the Women's College Sailing National Championship Semi-Finals – awarded to teams finishing 3rd through 9th – which will be hosted by the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, FL on May 21-22. This will be the Bears' second appearance at the Women's Nationals Championship in three years.
After a long delay waiting for consistent wind to develop on Saturday, racing got underway shortly after noon in a light southeasterly that kept the race committee on their toes. Constant course changes and several abandoned races were the theme of the day, which rewarded competitors who were able to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining consistency.
The Bears started strong, posting consistent scores across the board, and ended day one in 7th place with a 21 cushion to the first non-qualifying position.
"As we expected with such unpredictable breeze, day one was all about survival," explained Head Coach Brian Swingly. "We didn't light the world on fire, but put up fairly consistent scores and avoided multiple deep finishes."
Racing on Sunday started right on time in a slightly stronger breeze. Although the wind strength was up, random shifts, puffs, and lulls remained. Coast Guard knew they had their work cut out for them to maintain in qualifying position. Several very talented teams were right on their heels with a full year's worth of work to make it to the National Championship at stake.
In an A-Division stacked with past and future All-Americans, Devon Rohde and Jaimie Chicoine did exactly what the team needed on Sunday, never finishing worse than 11th in their four races.
"A-Division was incredibly tough, particularly on Sunday when everything was on the line," commented Swingly. "Devon and Jaimie did a fantastic job keeping us in the fight."
Going into the final two B-Division races, the Bears remained in 7th place with a 10-point gap to 10th place. It would be left up to the freshman combo of Kayla Ellis and Christina Frost to defend the lead. To that point in the regatta, Ellis and Frost had only finished outside the top-10 once and were solidifying themselves at the top of their division, but had several hungry teams behind them looking to make big gains.
Continuing the trend of the weekend, Ellis and Frost finished the regatta strong with a 7-8 to solidify the team in 8th place.
"B-Division is always in a pressure situation at the end of qualifiers – this year was no different," said Swingly. "Kayla and Christi's performance this weekend was fantastic, but I was most impressed with their calm and confident demeanor when they hit the water for the final set. That's rare for a freshman squad and bodes well for the team not only going into Nationals but for the next several years."
Rohde, Chicoine, Lauren Cefali, and Jennifer Lane finished 10th in A-Division with 90 points. Ellis and Frost were 4th in B-Division with 66 points. The team combined for 156 points, lost a tiebreaker to Roger Williams for 7th place, and finished 8th.
Boston College won the 2013 Reed Trophy in impressive fashion, with a mere 53 points. Along with Boston College, Yale also advances directly to the National Championship Finals by finishing 2nd with 94 points.
Along with Coast Guard, the University of Rhode Island, Dartmouth College, Tufts University, Connecticut College, Roger Williams University and Brown University will represent New England at the Semi-Finals. These teams plus eleven other teams from qualifiers across the country will make up a field of eighteen. The top nine finishers at the Semi-Finals will advance to the Finals.
"This is a phenomenal accomplishment for our young team," said Swingly. "It was a complete team effort, with every player who attended the regatta contributing to the overall score. I'm proud of the team's effort this weekend and know the potential moving forward is very high. After a short break to focus on the end of the term and final exams, we're looking forward to getting back to work on the water with even more determined focus leading into the National Championship."