May 31, 2014

Women's Sailing Sixth at Sperry Top-Sider Women's National Championship

Annapolis, Md. (May 30, 2014) – The women's sailing team finished sixth at the 2014 Sperry Top-Sider Women's National Championship.  The ninth ranked Bears bested many teams ranked higher than them in this closely contested battle of the nation's most elite sailors.  This is Coast Guard's best ever finish at the Women's National Championship.

Racing got underway on the final day of the event in a very light and fickle breeze that kept the eighteen teams competing for the championship on their toes.  Four races were sailed before the wind completely died and the competitors were sent ashore.  The Bears excelled in tricky conditions and dug themselves out of their overnight position of seventh into fifth. 

After a long delay on shore a beautiful northeasterly filled in which the race committee was able to run five more races per division.  Coast Guard quickly took advantage of the favorable conditions and started to put points on teams ahead of them as the regatta neared completion.  After fifteen races in each division the Bears found themselves in fourth place and only six points out of third, with several teams right on their heels also closing the gap to the leaders.

Although the Bears saw their chance at a podium position slip away after a few uncharacteristic mistakes in the final two races, their sixth place finish is the Coast Guard Academy's best in its rich and long-standing history in college sailing. 

"This was an exciting day for the team and the Academy, one that has been several years in the making," said head coach Brian Swingly.  "This group of sailors is not only talented but hard working, which showed on the racecourse today."

In A-Division, Nikole Barnes and Justine Morrison put on an impressive performance finishing fourth with 127 points.  In seventeen races they had only two outside of the top-10 in a fleet stacked with All-Americans and the two-time women's college sailor of the year.  Kayla Ellis, Jaimie Chicoine, and Christina Frost also sailed a strong event in a tough B-Division, finishing ninth with 164 points.

"To have done this with a freshman skipper in A-Division and a sophomore skipper in B-Division is remarkable," continued Swingly.  "Our immediate future in women's sailing is very bright; next year we'll be coming here to win."

Dartmouth College defended their 2013 title by a mere five points over second place Yale University.  The US Naval Academy rounded out the top-three. 

Up next is the Gill Coed National Championship hosted by St. Mary's College of Maryland, which will begin on Tuesday.  The entire team will spend one more day training in Annapolis before heading down to St. Mary's for the final post season event of the 2014 season.  

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