It’s been a mix of work and fun since we won the bronze medal at Sail for Gold, in June. In the past month I have coached three youth clinics – Newport, R.I., Sheboygan, Wis., Delevan Wis. – raced in a classic yacht regatta (in Newport), and raced a match race event as a tactician in Chicago. I spent some time in San Francisco visiting one of my brothers and my three-week-old nephew. Family is a huge part of my life and when I am home I usually get to spend quality time with most of them, as the majority live in Wisconsin, but it was really nice to have the time to make out to California and have some quality “newborn holding” time. I had about a week in Wisconsin to tie up odds and ends before heading back to England, including learning how to use my new kiln (birthday present) and finally fire all those unfinished bowls and mugs I have been making!
Since Sail for Gold, Team 7 Match Race has been taking time off, as planned, because we have had a busy spring season and will have an even busier fall. These past couple weeks were a natural time to recharge the batteries so we will be going into the Olympic Test Event feeling really fresh!
Although Alana, Elizabeth and I have take time off from sailing together, that doesn’t mean we’re not still in the gym. We have been working hard individually to reach our slightly modified weight and strength goals. It is always a challenge to make improvements or changes to our bodies while on the road, so for me it is really nice to be able to be home, or a least in one country and focus on exercise and diet. When home I typically spend 1-2 hours in the gym 3-4 days a week and then an additional 1-2 hrs of cardio-based exercise, usually outside, 5-6 days a week, along with a big focus on eating healthy.
We are generally pleased with our sailing season so far. I think we did a good job of staying focused during all the events and working on minimizing our mistakes. We are still learning certain parts of the game, which keeps in interesting and exciting when you make a break through. We also have a lot to learn and improve on, so that will be the focus for each event in our future. Never stop progressing.
Part of our preparation for the Olympic Test Event is to spend the week before training with our coach Dave Perry. Dave has been our primary coach for the season. We started working with him last September for the ISAF Match Racing Worlds and then more full-time in December. He has made a huge impact on everything from our daily drills and racing, to our long term schedule and planning. We are truly lucky that he is a part of our team!
The Olympic Test Event is a chance for us to get a feel for the format and how they will run things at the Olympics. It will be great experience for our team and a chance for us to focus on our racing against a very tough field.
I feel privileged and excited to race in the Pre-Olympics. We had such a hard fight at our qualifier for this spot to attend and I feel really grateful to get the opportunity.
– Sally Barkow, Team 7 Match Race
Olympian Sally Barkow will helm the U.S. entry in Women’s Match Racing, with crew Alana O’Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, at the 2011 Portland and Weymouth International Regatta, beginning August 2. Follow the Sally, Alana and Elizabeth as they go for gold at the site of the 2012 Olympic Games at the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics website: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/Events/2011/Olympic_Test_Event.htm