After back-to-back second-place finishes in its 2012 and 2013 national championship regattas, the Georgetown coed sailing team looks to finally get over the final hurdle and take home a national title.

Head Coach Michael Callahan is excited with what he has seen so far from the team and believes the season should culminate with another impressive result in the spring championship season.

“We typically start off a little slower than other teams,” Callahan said. “But this year we’ve got a very talented group who are performing well.”
Although still in the early stages of the year, Georgetown sailing has won both of its opening regattas, the Riley Cup on Sept. 14 and Nevins Trophy on Sept. 21.

The coed team is currently ranked No. 2 in the country and returns the vast majority of its talent from last year’s run to the national championship regatta. New talent, however, will also be integral to the success of the team.

“I’m particularly happy with the number of freshman crews that we have coming in this year that came in with experience,” Callahan said.

This is one of the first years that no walk-ons made the team, with many freshmen making an immediate impact, including Meaghan MacRae, Emily Ito and Andie Dahl.

Headlining the freshman recruiting class is Lola Bushnell, who just qualified for the ISCA Women’s Singlehanded National Championship — a remarkable accomplishment for a freshman.

The Hoyas will be led by the nationally recognized quartet of senior Katia DaSilva, senior Alex Post, junior Bettina Redway and junior Nevin Snow.
With multiple All-American honors between them, Callahan believes that they are as strong a unit as he has seen in his 17-year career.

Snow said that DaSilva and Post are the most vocal leaders on the squad, with a unique ability to identify with all members of the team. Because Post and DaSilva were not immediately given starting varsity roles or All-American accolades during the beginning of their Hoya sailing careers, they started from relatively low spots on the team and rose up through effort and hard work.

“[Their work ethic is] why I think that they are so well-rounded as leaders,” Snow said. “They understand what it takes to push the people who are below them to improve because they too were there at one point in their college careers and got to the top. It sets a great example.”

While the season starts in the fall, the real contest does not come until the end of the spring. Snow sees the fall campaign as a learning opportunity that the team can use to help the new members of the squad acclimate to the standards of NCAA sailing, as well as figure out the optimal combinations of personnel.

“These early races are all about trying to figure out who sails well with who, as well as trying to get the whole team’s skill level up to a spot where we can feel comfortable and ready going into the postseason,” Snow said.

As an experienced upperclassman, Snow tries to do as much teaching as he can to help expedite the learning process for the new sailors.

“A lot of the time [when I go to regattas in the fall], I’m just trying to teach the freshm-n and sophomores how to improve and compete with the level of the other varsity teams around the country. It’s all about learning,” Snow said.

Snow also mentioned that although the team racing championships are not until spring, most of the individual competitions that the top Hoya sailors have the opportunity to qualify for are in the fall.

“I do as much mentoring as I can, but I also have to focus on practicing on my own to prepare for my personal national qualifier,” Snow said. “It’s an interesting dynamic — want to be super serious and competitive right away, but, at the same time, 90 percent of the team is still in that preseason growing mode.”

The highlight of the fall schedule is the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 15 and 16, which the team views as an important benchmark.

“The ACCs are like the nationals of the fall. They are obviously very important to win and do well, but when it comes down to it they’re still just a building block for Nationals in the spring,” Snow said.

The coed sailing team will next take to the water for the Tom Curtis Memorial Regatta at the Washington Sailing Marina on Saturday, Oct. 11.

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