There are times when a team shows up perfectly prepared for an event, and everything goes according to plan. This weekend for the Penn Sailing Team was NOT one of those times. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn a lot and make it as positive an experience as possible. At the same time, last place doesn’t really give our spin-doctor headline writers a whole lot to work with.
For the start of the 2015 team race season, Jack Swikart, Drew Gallagher, Joe Egan, Cary Kane, Lucy Sergeant, and Caroline Garth all drove down to Annapolis for the Graham Hall Team Race, thought by many to be as tough as Team Race Nationals or tougher. The problem was, this group had only one day of practice as a team going into the event, and despite a decent amount of team race experience between them, had never team raced together before.
Needless to say, this was a recipe for pain. The Quakers did manage to knock off an extremely impressive Fordham team to get one win on the board over the course of two days, but despite many close and hard-fought races were unable to secure another. That’s not to say the team did not know what they were doing, but could be likened to some of Penn Basketball’s performances on the court this year – the right people often in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, scratch that. Even we weren’t THAT bad.
All kidding aside, the Graham Hall was clearly more than we bargained for, but at the same time it was an extremely valuable experience for us. First of all, it allowed us to see 15 other teams who function better in a team race environment than we do. We can take a lot of those lessons into our next two team races this season. Also, we were able to get some practice at Navy, which is always a good thing as well.
Thanks very much to our graduate advisor Skip Swikart (W’80) who helped us drive the team down as well as coach Billy Martin for sticking with us despite our embarrassing him completely by losing nearly every race.
Now the team gets ready for its final regular-season team race, the Admiral Moore at SUNY. The team hopes to sharpen its skills even more in order to be ready for the MAISA Team Race Challenge the following weekend at Kings Point.
As always, results can be found on Techscore: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/graham-hall-team-race/