Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Trains With Olympic Alum For National Championships

It’s not quite an Olympic training session, but Andrew Campbell (SFS ’06), has been practicing with Georgetown, helping his alma mater ready for three national championships regattas while preparing himself for the Beijing Olympics.

In the country for a brief time, the 18th-ranked sailor in the world has been at practices in D.C. recently, working with Georgetown on the Potomac, where he became one of the best collegiate sailors ever. The continent-hopping Campbell has spent the first four months of the year racing between Australia, Spain, France and his home in San Diego.

Georgetown will make the trip Newport, R.I., this week for the ICSA championships with the women’s dinghy regatta May 26-28, the team racing May 30 through June 1 and the coed dinghy championships June 2-4.

Throughout much of their season, the Hoyas had middling success across the board. The team was always competitive but did not string together long sets of top finishes like its wildly successful neighbor to the north, St. Mary’s College.

Though Georgetown was nearly invisible during the regular season, it has moved into a higher gear for the end-of-the season races.

“If we had the national championships last weekend or the weekend before, we would have won coed and fleet racing,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said. “But with a four-week layoff, you’re never sure what you’re going to get.”

While the Hoyas finished the season with a flourish, putting themselves on a short list of contenders for all three national championships, intervening final exams and senior week may have cooled their hot edge.

The coed A team, senior skipper Chris Behm and junior crew Carly Chamberlain, have driven the Hoyas’ side forward, winning the western national semifinals in late April over Yale, just two weeks after knocking off St. Mary’s for the MAISA league crown.

Behm and Chamberlain were mainstays for the coed side last year, but the two made the jump to elite-level sailors this season, and freshman Charlie Buckingham earned a spot as a skipper on the B boat.

“Charlie really stepped up as a freshman, and the dominance of Chris and Carly . has really given us confidence lately,” Callahan said.

While Behm and Chamberlain have been consistently good of late, the women’s side has been inconsistent. For most of the season, the A boat of seniors Blaire Herron and Leigh Fogwell and the B team of junior Emily Babbitt and sophomore Caila Johnson have been on different pages, if not in different books.

“With the women’s team, if they sail their best, they should win the national championship. But when the A boat has its best race of the year, the B doesn’t have it, or vice versa.” Callahan said.

“But they haven’t really sailed their best all year. . Blaire and Leigh can be the best sailors in college, they just haven’t done it consistently.”

Callahan says that his squad has not been good at team racing this year, but with Campbell pushing in practice and momentum from beating St. Mary’s, anything is possible. Georgetown won the team race championships in 2006, though they finished just third in their own conference.

The friendly practices are not strange to Campbell. He says the top international sailors in the Laser class regularly have practice sessions together – before sailing against each other in major international events.

“It’s not that secretive, yet. There’s so little you can do with the boat. Everyone has the same sails, so there’s no strategy about what kind of sails you’re using. . We’re really just testing technique,” Campbell says. “It takes a lot of trust to have those kinds of relationships with people . but you want to practice against the best you can.”

When Georgetown is playing its luck at the national championships, Campbell will be sailing in a Dutch regatta. Then, he’ll take a quick trip westward to spend time at home before a Team USA training session in Qingdao, China, in mid-June.

Campbell will return home for a few days after the Belgium race in early July before heading to Beijing with Team USA for the games’ opening ceremony. Then he will head approximately 300 miles south of Beijing to Qingdao, where the sailing events begin shortly after the opening ceremony.

“A lot of people were thinking about going to the ceremony and getting a flight back early the next morning,” Campbell says. “But I’m definitely going. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ll try to stand next to the basketball players and be on T.V.”

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