US Optimist training program updates
Published on April 9th, 2019
The U.S. Optimist National Team (USNT) Committee has revealed the new National Optimist Development Program, as well as this season’s US National Team evolution, for 2019-2020. Designed to better serve both development pathway sailors and sailors competing at the top international level, the initiatives are based on over a decade of progressive improvements and experience, and advice from top Optimist and Olympic coaches from around the world.
“I have worked closely with the Class leadership to make sure the USNT and Optimist Development Program changes provide for more coordination, collaboration and alignment with our Olympic Development Program (ODP) vision,” said Leandro Spina, Olympic Development Director, US Sailing Team.
“Growing the Development roster from 19 to at least 120 sailors will expand access to exceptional coaching, with regional coordination providing more interactive feedback to sailors, families, and coaches. At the same time, the NT will now have a more focused approach that dovetails directly with our ODP plans. I am very excited!”
Organized as a collaborative effort between the USNT Committee and the USNT Coach Council, with direct input from the US Sailing Team Olympic Development Program, this “ODP2” project will consist of six regional programs – NE, SE, Mid-Atlantic, Gulf Coast, Mid-West, and West – with an assigned coordinator for each area.
Initial regional membership roster will be 20 sailors, with 15 based on U.S. Team Trials results and 5 by application. The National Coordinator will be International Team Coach, former Coral Reef YC Optimist Program Director and current San Francisco YC Optimist Program Director Justine O’Connor. Regional coordinators will be announced by the end of April.
“The idea of a true national development program with coordinated regional organization has been talked about for years, and we are finally making it happen,” said Blake MacDiarmid, US National Team Chair, Former USODA President. “This will be an exciting time for our sailors as they progress through Optimist sailing with coaching that meets the sailors at their level, into development boats, and then be exceptionally prepared for the Olympic pathway or college sailing.”
The National Team will consist of IODA-qualified sailors from Team Trials for an initial roster of up to 36. Additional sailors will be provided an invitation to join the USNT based on IODA-qualified sailors from Spring Team Qualifiers.
The team will have access to new drone video and tracker technology, as well as new practice venues, weather analysis and unique conditioning opportunities. USNT Performance Director Joakim Karlsen will also be announcing merit-based NT travel opportunities to allow top sailors to train and compete with the best international Optimist sailors outside of the US.
Additional program details, qualification specifics, and plans will soon be posted online in the USNT section: www.usoda.org