Over Thanksgiving weekend, more than 150 of the nation's top youth sailors participated in the largest Olympic Development Program (ODP) Clinic of 2018. The event was hosted by Miami Yacht Club and focused on racing. In addition to the Youth Sailing World Championship classes that were represented (29er, i420, and Laser Radial), this clinic was the first of its kind to add Olympic class fleets to the program (Laster Standard, Laser Radial, 470, 49erFX and RS:X).
At the three day clinic, training was led by Quantum Racing Experts Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake, Morgan Reeser and Ed Baird. These Olympic-level coaches rotated through the fleets, working with all twenty regional program coaches that accompanied their sailors in the Youth Worlds classes. The 470 sailors had the opportunity to learn from US Sailing Team (USST) Senior Olympic Coach, Luther Carpenter, who has coached U.S. athletes to five Olympic Medals in four different classes. The other Olympic classes were coached by Rulo Borojovich (Laser Standard and Laser Radial), David Liebenberg (49erFX), and Raul Lopez (RS:X). USST Athlete, Stephanie Roble also shared her expertise with the 49erFX teams.
The inclusion of Olympic fleets marks the ODP's shift in focus from Youth World classes to Olympic classes. The ODP is a long-term effort to help young sailors build a complete high-performance skill set. Due to the hard work of the sailors, coaches, and regional programs, success is visible in U.S. youth sailor results at international competitions. At the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships, Team USA won the Nations Trophy for the best overall performance. The movement to focus on Olympic classes at ODP clinics will support transitioning these talented young athletes into Olympic classes and prepare them for the 2024 Olympic campaign trail.
Generally, training events of this scope operate on a regional level. Sailors at the clinic hailed from around the country, representing 11 different regional programs in six classes. Continue reading to learn what some of the ODP athletes valued most about this clinic.