by Dana Paxton
U.S. Sailing has decided to make expansions in order to reflect the advancement of Olympic class sailing in the United States and to meet the increased demand from talented sailors to join the US Sailing Development Team (USSDT). US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has announced a new structure for the 2012 USSDT.
U.S. Youth Sailing Championship finale
The team will have two groups: the Olympic Development Team (ODT), focused on performance in Olympic Class equipment; and the Youth Development Team (YDT), focused on performance in the equipment used in the ISAF Youth World Championship.
Created in 2007 and known then as the Elite Youth Development Team, and the program was expanded in 2008 to help young athletes who have been identified as future Olympic prospects to acquire the skills necessary to launch successful campaigns and compete at the Olympic level.
'Our goal is to provide an elite environment designed specifically to prepare young sailors for the highly competitive world of Olympic sailing,' said Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee Dean Brenner (Wallingford, Conn.).
Selection for the 2012 USSDT will change from a resume process to a straight-forward regatta selection process. US Sailing’s High Performance Director may invite additional sailors to join the team on a wild card basis with the approval of the Olympic Sailing Committee.
The best candidates for the US Sailing Development Team are those with a passion for becoming an Olympic-caliber athlete, and who are willing and able to travel internationally to compete. By demonstrating the skill and commitment to train and compete at a high level, the ideal sailor is one who is independent, goal-oriented and focused on achievement.
Olympic Development Team: The Olympic Development Team is targeted at athletes, aged 16-24, who are focused on the Olympic classes for the 2016 Games. Athletes will be selected at US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, FL, January 22-28, 2012 in the following classes: 49er, Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, Men’s RS:X, Women’s RS:X. A separate regatta will be held in January, 2012, in Florida to select the Multihull (mixed crew) and 29erXX (two person women’s skiff).
Members of the Olympic Development Team will receive benefits similar to those offered athletes on the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) including collaborative coaching and logistical support for regattas. Additionally, sailors will be invited to attend the U.S. Olympic Committee Training Camp in the spring.
Youth Development Team: The Youth Development Team is targeted at athletes, aged 14-18, who are focused on success at the ISAF Youth World Championship and also may be considering a serious Olympic campaign within the next four years. Athletes will be selected at the U.S. ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier, scheduled for January 14-16, 2012 at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, in Long Beach, Calif., in the following classes: Radial girls, Radial boys, 29er, I420 girls, I420 boys, Techno 293 girls and Techno 293 boys. A separate regatta will be held in January, 2012, in Florida to select the Formula 16 (multihull) team.
The Youth Development Team will have two training camps annually and will coordinate participation at international events. A full training schedule will be posted soon.
US Sailing website