College Sailing Team Spotlight
******Location/Enrollment: **Washington, D.C., 7,500 undergraduates, 5,800 graduates
Sailing Site: Potomac River
Facilities/Boats: The team rents a facility at the Washington Sailing Marina in Alexandria, Va., which is seven miles from campus. The fleet includes 18 FJs, six 420s, three Lasers, and four motorboats.
Coaching: Mike Callahan, head coach; Michael Campbell, assistant coach; various volunteers coaches
Team Status: Varsity
Although sailing has been a varsity sport at Georgetown since the 1930s, the team has not always been the powerhouse people know it as today. When head coach Mike Callahan was an undergraduate and a captain on the team in the 1990s, he put in a tremendous effort but did not see a lot of return in the form of good results. Shortly after graduating in 1997, Callahan became the team’s head coach. The first order of business was to change the way the team thought of itself. “We began treating ourselves as varsity athletes with things like team workouts and mandatory attendance,” he says. “I scheduled easy regattas to begin with to get wins under our belt and build confidence. Soon, winning became the norm no matter what level we were competing at.”
Callahan’s coaching techniques made a difference, as the sailing team has won seven national titles and produced four of the last six College Sailors of the Year. The team marks its 75th anniversary in 2012, and is hoping for a strong performance at spring nationals despite graduating several talented seniors in 2011. The women’s team finished ninth at the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider ICSA Women’s National Championship and is gunning for the title this year.
Did you know?
In 1955, Kathleen “Skippy” White, who sailed on the men’s team, became the first female athlete to earn a varsity letter at Georgetown.