The spring of 2012 ended with the Coast Guard Academy sailing team failing to qualify for the either the Coed or Women's National Championship, but with promise for upcoming seasons for the young team. After many team members being able to put in quality work both on the water and in the gym during the summer offseason, and welcoming one of the most talented freshmen classes in recent history, the Bears have high expectations going into the 2012-2013 season.
The coed team will be lead by returning skippers Bradley Milliken and Dylan Finneran, both whom have shown signs of being strong competitors at the national level and have together won several minor events. Junior captain crews Jaimie Chicoine and Michael Caballero will be staples on the coed team, along with a rotating third or fourth crew.
"Brad, Dylan, and their crews worked hard together last season to take it to the next level, focusing to improve their game in key areas that were lacking," said head coach Brian Swingly. "They'll need to step it up even further this season to accomplish what we're trying to do."
Freshman Avery Fanning is also expected to make some key starts for the Bears this season, entering the Academy after an impressive junior sailing career.
"Avery brings a lot to the table," said Swingly. "With his superb work ethic and desire to win, I expect him to quickly transition into the college game."
The coed team will start their season with two conference majors, the Penobscot Bay Open and the Lake Champlain Open, before stepping up to interconference competition at the Hood Trophy and home at the prestigious Danmark Trophy. The fall New England Championship for the Erwin Schell Trophy will be at Brown University on October 27-28 where the Bears will be battling to win one of eight berths to the Atlantic Coast Championship to be held at the Merchant Marine Maritime Academy on November 10-11.
Sophomore skippers Devon Rohde and Lauren Cefali return after a freshman year during which they were asked to sail at high-level events very early in their college career. Despite struggling early, the team peaked at the 2011 Women's New England Championship, finishing the event strong and turning heads.
"When the class of 2011 graduated that left us with a void for women's skippers," explained Swingly. "Lauren and Devon found themselves quickly having to compete at the top level, which will benefit them greatly this season."
Although the women's team will lose veteran crews Kristen Holloway and Justine Morrison, they return fellow sophomore Jennifer Lane who got several starts last season.
"Kristen and Justine were a large part of the success of the women's program last season – Jenny has big shoes to fill but I think she's ready," added Swingly.
Christina Frost enters the Academy with a wealth of experience at top tier events and will lend a supporting role to the women's team while also focusing on her singlehanded efforts. Frost will be looking to continue Coast Guard's strong presence at the Women's Singlehanded National Championship. Her, along with Cefali, will be competing at the Women's New England Singlehanded Championship at Connecticut College on September 29-30 with hopes to qualify for Nationals which will be held at University of Southern California on November 2-4.
"Christi's singlehanded sailing is completely dialed in, thanks to a lot of time on the water and excellent coaching at the junior level" said Swingly. "If she works hard on short course tactics, she'll be a strong contender at the qualifier."
The women's schedule starts with one conference major, the Toni Deutsch Trophy, before heading to Dartmouth for the Women's Mrs. Hurst Bowl. After a brief break, their season kicks into full gear with the Navy Women's Interconference, the Yale Women's Interconference, and the Women's Stu Nelson. The Women's New England Championship for the Reed Trophy will be at Connecticut College on October 27-28 with seven berths available to the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship, also at Connecticut College on November 10-11.