Class: 470 Women
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics: 2003-2008
Member of: Surf City YC
Education: Marlboro (N.J.) High School, University of Richmond (graduated 2001)
Birthdate: April 21, 1979
Birthplace: Red Bank, N.J.
Hometown: New York
Occupation: Full-time athlete
Significant sailing achievements: Ranked No. 1 on the US Sailing Team – 470 Women (2005-2008); Team Alternate/470 Women – 2004 Olympic Games
Biography: Sarah Mergenthaler was the first high school athlete in her district to earn varsity letters in five different sports, the first high school female in New Jersey to convert a field goal in a varsity football game, a record-breaker in the javelin throw in college, a varsity soccer player all four years of college who also played semi-pro, and recipient of numerous athlete-of-the-year awards from organizations such as ESPN and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“I hate to lose and I love being the hardest-working competitor on the field-even if it’s a basketball game against my dad,” she says. “It’s in the intensity and focus of competing that I find fun in sport-no matter which sport it is.”
Sailing received more focus after Mergenthaler graduated from the University of Richmond in 2001. Originally a singlehanded sailor, she learned that Amanda Clark-whom she raced against as a youth-was looking for a 470 crew. Mergenthaler got on a plane to Miami to give crewing a try, and the two women clicked as a team: “Amanda is one of the only people I’ve ever met who matches my competitive spirit. On our boat there is simply a refusal to lose and a resolve to never give in.”
Together they campaigned for the 2004 Games. Although tied for the lead at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at mid-regatta, they finished second. The day the Trials ended, they committed to a campaign for 2008 and headed straight to Europe to keep competing. Mergenthaler considers a Trials win her greatest sailing achievement.
2008 11th 470 World Championships/Melbourne, Australia
2007 3rd 470 North American Championships/Miami, 3rd US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR/Miami, 6th 470 European Championships/Thessalonki, Greece