I recently wrote an article for The Layline, the Stanford Sailing Team’s newsletter.
You can read it below, or see the full Layline here:
The article starts on page 6.
Cardinal, White, and Blue… Stanford Sailors’ Olympic Hopes
By Helena Scutt
In contrast to most sports, in sailing, the collegiate and Olympic levels are quite different “ballgames” (for lack of an equivalent nautical word). Besides the obvious difference in boats, an Olympic campaign, even in a double-handed boat, is a more individual endeavor than the experience of being part of a thirty-member college team. And rather than the simplicity of John and Clinton deciding which regattas you will attend and telling you when to meet for your ride to the airport, all of a sudden you have to decide which events you’re going to, plan all the logistics, and most dauntingly of all, fundraise. Steering my own campaign in its early stages has made me appreciate everything that our coaches and the Stanford Athletics Department do for us! Without further ado, here’s an introduction to some of Stanford Sailing’s talented and hardworking Olympic aspirants.
Freshman Marion Lepert qualified for the 2013 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider in February at Sailing World Cup Miami. This past summer Marion competed at RS:X Europeans and placed 4th in the RS:X at ISAF Youth Worlds. Marion said, “I’m looking forward to the next several years on the Stanford Sailing Team and on the international RS:X Windsurfing circuit. I am keeping my eyes on the 2016/2020 Games and hope to work my way there by dedicating myself to continually improving as a sailor.” College sailing is a great complement to windsurfing that will no doubt help Marion’s game on the board. Marion and I enjoyed hanging out at the Olympic Training Center together for a US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider training camp in October – and by “hanging out” I mean studying for midterms late at night in the common room together, of course! Be sure to check out Marion’s beautiful blog: http://www.marionusa143.com.
When asking about his sailing aspirations, sophomore Antoine Screvedidn’t beat around the bush. “I want to win a medal in either Multihull or Kiteboarding in the Olympics,” he said. With two medals from ISAF Youth Worlds in the 29er, Antoine is no stranger to skippering fast boats. Antoine and crew McKenzie Wilson, a senior, will be training in the Nacra 17 in Miami this winter. Antoine is new to the Nacra while McKenzie has several Nacra regattas under her belt, including 2013 Worlds and Nationals.
Also crazy about catamarans (who isn’t after this summer’s America’s Cup?!) is sophomore Sammy Steele. She “fell in love with catamarans” when she was invited to skipper a Nacra 17 at the 2013 Nationals last summer in Oyster Bay, New York. She has applied the techniques and experiences gained while racing the new Olympic class to her collegiate sailing this fall. Regarding her future plans, Sammy explained, “Although competing for Stanford remains my primary focus, I intend to continue sailing Nacras after college with the possibility of an Olympic campaign.”
This summer, junior Hans Henken competed at Kieler Woche (Kiel, Germany) and 49er Worlds (Marseille, France) with skipper Trevor Moore, a 2012 Olympian in the 49er. It was a fantastic opportunity for Hans to compete at the highest level. Unfortunately Hans has battled two different injuries to his left ankle in the last two years. Until he graduates, he plans to compete locally and hopes to campaign after graduating. Hans wisely commented that, “being able to sail well is only half the battle. Team work and group unity is the key to a good campaign.”
I have been sailing the 49erFX with Paris Henken (Hans’s younger sister) since March. This summer we pushed ourselves in San Francisco Bay’s strong conditions and had a lot of fun sharing the bay with the AC72s! In August we won the CORK Olympic Class Regatta in Kingston, Canada, and the 49erFX Nationals in New York. It was exciting to see our skiff experience (29er and 29erXX) and summer training pay off.
In September we competed in the 49erFX Worlds in Marseille, France. Unfortunately, on the fourth day of racing I was hit hard by another 49erFX. The impact cracked my ribs, fractured the left transverse process of one of my vertebrae, and lacerated my left kidney. I would never wish the experience upon anyone! When I returned to campus my teammates had written welcome messages in chalk outside my house and covered my desk in flowers, cupcakes, and cards – they are the best! With all this love I have healed remarkably fast and while I had to miss out on the fall season, I will be able to train in the 49erFX over winter break and resume college sailing next quarter. The Stanford doctors, strength trainers, and physical therapists have all been amazing and I am so lucky to have that. What the accident taught me is that things can change very fast, stay positive, and never take your health or ability to sail for granted!
In January, Paris and I will aim to re-qualify for 2014 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at Sailing World Cup Miami. During the 2016 quad, Paris and I are focusing on learning as much as possible about what makes an effective campaign since our training time is limited by our different school schedules and how far apart we live. Next summer our two biggest regattas will be 49erFX Europeans in Finland and 49erFX Worlds in Spain. We can’t wait! Visit http://scutt49erfx.blogspot.comto stay in touch.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of Stanford Sailing’s Olympic potential or Olympic hopefuls. We are, after all, arguably the deepest team in college sailing today! It is awesome to be surrounded by other sailors in pursuit of sailing goals both for college and beyond. Stanford Sailing is providing us with an invaluable foundation of tactical knowledge and boat handling and boat speed principles, in addition to life skills such as time management and most importantly, teamwork.