As part of its reorganization in the wake of the 2012 London Olympics, where it failed to win a single medal, the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team has been increasing its efforts to develop young sailors with an eye toward creating a “pipeline” that will provide experienced, effective rosters for future Olympiads. And it appears those efforts are starting to bear fruit, with US Sailing’s 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship Team winning no less than three medals this past December at the Youth World Championship Regatta in Auckland, New Zealand.
Leading the U.S. effort were Wiley Rogers of Houston, Texas, and Jack Parkin of Riverside, Connecticut, who took gold in the boys 420 class. Also securing podium spots were Romain Screve of Kentfield, California, and Ian Brill of San Diego, California, who took silver in the Nacra 15 class, and Carrson Pearce of Manahawkin, New Jersey, who took bronze in the Laser Radial class.
“We had good speed through all conditions and managed to grind back in a few tough situations to save our event,” Rogers said afterward. “Ever since last year we’ve been focused on this…and this result represents a full year of many hours of work. You can also see that the class has come a long way in the U.S. We’ve all been going at it and pushing each other to the top of the world.”
“I was a little bit nervous going into the final race,” admitted Pearce, who had to battle 56 sailors for his medal. “I was tied for fourth with the Spanish competitor, so I had to keep my eye on him. I wanted to just get a good start. After that, I stayed on top of the fleet as best I could.”
A sign of things to come? Let’s hope so. For details, visit ussailing.org/olympics