Courtesy US Sailing  

Sport: Sailing

Hometown: San Diego, CA

High School: The Bishop School

School/Year: SFS ’06

High School Highlights: Won two single-handed high school national championships . Won three youth championships, making him the only sailor to earn the US single-handed championship crown three times . Won the Youth Single-handed Laser Sailing Championship . Competed in three double-handed championships, placing second two times and third one time . Ranked second on the US Sailing team as a junior and 1st on the team as a senior.

Georgetown Highlights: Went undefeated in sailing except for one even in the division . Ranked first in sailing . Won the single-handed collegiate championship in Houston . Qualified for the No. 1 spot on the U.S. Team . Named the U.S. Sailing’s U.S. Olympic Committee Male of the Year for 2002.

What does being first on the US team mean? I’m trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. Each year they have a qualifying system – the top two guys get funding for gear and secure a position for the Olympic Games. Those qualifiers get gear and recognition. The ultimate end to all of that is the Olympic Team trials in November, which are held in Houston. I’m taking the fall off to train. The winner of that goes to the Games and everyone else goes home.

Are you considered young for these competitions? Yeah, it’s probably the youngest group of sailors in a long time to be on the U.S. Laser Team. I’ve been racing against guys who were doing two or three campaigns; they’re around 28 or so. At the Pre-Olympic test in Athens I was the youngest guy out of 50 or 60 guys.

Is that intimidating for you? It used to be a lot. When I was younger I didn’t have as much confidence. Now I’ve seen where I can go and the level of competition, so it’s not as intimidating. A lot of guys on the U.S. team have been pretty accepting and I’ve gotten into their circle.

When did you first start sailing? I’ve been sailing for as long as I can remember. It’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. My parents have always been into racing and my grandparents are pretty savvy with it. I was in the San Diego Yacht Program when I was six and then started racing when I was seven or eight.

What do you consider your greatest sailing achievement? Definitely winning the International Sailing Federation Youth World Championship, which was held in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. To qualify for that regatta you have to be the best youth sailor in the U.S. You just go and represent your country and comrades. It was an honor to represent all the people I sail against. I placed sixth in the U.S. Youth Championship when I was 16, and I won last year. It’s something that hasn’t been done by an American since 1983. I was proud to step the bar up for the U.S. sailors and show the rest of the world that the U.S. is something to be reckoned with. It’s an amazing list of people who won that regatta.

Favorite thing about sailing: There are a lot of different things about it that I enjoy. There’s a lot of solidarity and isolation, and I can get away from it all and focus on myself and what I do best. At Georgetown, it’s a typical team atmosphere. I hadn’t experienced this big a team before, and it’s really a lot of fun. The racecourse is always changing – the state of the ocean, the wind and waves and breeze and the current – and the courses are always different. The flexibility you need to have makes it the most fun because it’s never the same. It’s not like basketball where you have a court with a 10-foot basket.

Favorite thing about Georgetown thus far: Definitely the sailing team and going to regattas every weekend. Having a core group of friends is the best part.

Hardest thing to adjust to at college: Besides the cold weather, I’d say maybe having a little less structure. I have to work out my own layout times and practice times. It’s a good change, but it’s been a tough change.

Coolest place you’ve ever sailed: It’s tough to say. Going to Athens this summer was unbelievable. The Greek atmosphere was really different – it was unbelievable being in that city with the tradition of sports and the clout it has with holding the games in 2004.

Why did you decide to come to Georgetown? All in all, everything put together, it was the best choice. Things just fell into place here – the team’s great, and the education, the government and the philosophy were what I wanted. The team is the best part about it, and the people I live with in general. It all turned out better than I could wish.

Person who’s impacted your life most profoundly: If I had to say one person, I would say my dad. But both my parents, really. My mom supports my dad like no one else. My dad has a drive for excellence in whatever he does, and that’s definitely spilled over into my life. He has more patience than I do, and he’s an amazing figure in that sense. He has amazing patience to take things every step of the way, and his conservative approach has spilled over into my mine.

If you could have any actor play you in a movie, who would you choose and why? I like George C. Scott even though he’s dead. I like him just because he’s got a lot of fire, and because of his intensity.

Earliest memory: Sitting in a sandbox at the end of my driveway playing with army guys or some of that nonsense.

What kind of car do you drive? A Volvo Wagon, forest green.

Best thing about living in California: It’s 70 and sunny just about every day in Southern California. I can go sailing every day, not quite something I can do here. The biggest culture shock is going two or three weeks when I haven’t been out on the water – there’s too much training in the gym.

If you could have dinner with any one person, fictional or real, who would it be? Jim Thorpe or someone like that. He’s someone who was just such a dominant force in everything he did. There are a lot of people like that, but Jim Thorpe comes to mind.

Siblings: I have a younger brother, Michael, who’s 14. He does a little bit of sailing, but he’s not as keen on it as I am. He has more hand-eye coordination that I didn’t get. He does more basketball, tennis and baseball. He’s a smart kid.

Do you feel a lot of pressure as far as sailing is concerned? I put a lot more pressure on myself than anyone else. My dad never laid it out on the line or held me to his sailing achievements. He won the Americas Cup in 1992 – I was eight or nine – and I saw all of the big guys on the team and saw how happy they were. To be that proud of what you’ve done with a team-that had a big impact on me, and I’ve learned to channel some of that intensity.

Something you always do before a race: It’s kind of routine on the water, but after I’m done checking the breeze and all that stuff I definitely just tone it down. I try not to focus on the end so much as let the series sort itself out. I try to keep relaxed and try to think about all the time I put in. My best should be better because of all of the time I put in, and if not, then I should have been trying harder all along.

Least favorite kind of music: County music. The substance to it is just terrible.

Favorite movie genre: I really enjoy good war movies – the ones that emphasize brotherhood.

Characteristic you value most in a friend: Just that they’re honest with me and frank with me. My friends give me grief for stuff, and keep me straight, so I’m not too arrogant or too full of myself.

Favorite group/musician: The Rolling Stones, outright.

Most interesting person you’ve ever met: Because I’m from San Diego, I’ve had the chance to meet Dennis Connor – he’s a big name as far as the U.S. Cup goes, and he’s won a couple of gold medals. He’s an amazing figure in sailing. He’s controversial in sailing – he sometimes says stuff that piss people off, but once you gain his respect, he’s a great guy. I’ve been lucky to get to meet him and sail with him.

Favorite food: Tuna, not canned, but Ahi tuna steak on the grill.

Favorite way to relax: Sleeping or just listening to mellow music and just sitting down after a long today of sailing.

Favorite magazine: Sailing World Magazine.

Most frustrating aspect of sailing: There’s a hint of luck involved in it all-bad luck or good luck – and you can’t predict what’s going to happen on the course. Someone can be miles and miles ahead of you, and it can just be because they’re lucky. That’s the most frustrating, but it adds to the challenge. It adds to my conservative approach out there, trying to stick to the fundamentals.

One non-sailing goal you would like to accomplish: To graduate. That’s a pretty big goal for me. And to have a great time when I’m here and have a good time sailing and not lose sight of all the extracurricular stuff here. And maybe to make the Dean’s List a semester or year.

What’s under your bed right now? My Laser Gear bag and three Laser sails. And probably some dust.

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