Giving His All
Giving His All
College Sailor of the Year Thomas Barrows reflects on his winning attitude and the transformations he made throughout his college sailing career.
And you’re going back to coach at Yale now?
Yeah; I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a good way to give back to the program, and it’s also going to be beneficial to my own sailing as well. I get to prepare all of the singlehanded sailors for qualifiers and hopefully nationals. It will be good in that sense.
What will you emphasize there?
When I coach now, I really make an effort to understand how the sailors are thinking about what is going on. I feel as though this allows the sailors to be more comfortable communicating with me and makes the process more collaborative.
What sailing are you doing now?
I’m doing a Laser campaign for the 2012 Olympics representing the Virgin Islands.
Where will you train for that?
I’m going to be based up in New Haven this year because I’m coaching at Yale, but I’m going to be all over the place this summer. I’m going to Puerto Rico for a couple of weeks to train, and then I’m going to be in England for pretty much all of August. Worlds are on Hayling Island, which is right next to England. I’m traveling all over.
How does your college sailing experience transfer over to your Olympic goals?
[I’ve learned that] when you’re practicing and training to try to focus on specific skill sets at certain times to get better at certain things. Practicing better has been huge. I grew up sailing in the Virgin Islands with a few other really good sailors, Cy Thompson and Taylor Canfield. We were all the same age and of similar skill level, which meant we did not have an older, more talented group of sailors to learn from. In one sense, it was a blessing because we learned how to coach ourselves. Since we were super competitive, we pushed one another really hard. On the other hand, it fostered some bad training behaviors. Every time we trained, we were attached to our egos, which meant we got too worked up with emotions and did not always look to one another to improve. College made me a lot more humble in my approach to sailing, which allowed me to be better at soaking in new techniques and tactics from sailors and coaches. It really opened my eyes to how collaborative sailors needed to be with each other and their coaches to be the most efficient at improving. I think that helps me a lot: being able to teach yourself how to learn as best as possible and being able to improve.
What did you do after Nationals?
Actually, I came back to New Haven and helped run a reunion reception for the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club.