New duo working toward Paris 2024

Published on December 17th, 2020

US Sailing Team Athlete Erika Reineke, who came up short in her bid to represent the USA in the Laser Radial at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has replaced her hiking straps with a trapeze wire for Paris 2024. Teamed with Lucy Wilmot, the new duo have begun their campaign in the 49erFx Women’s Skiff event. Here’s an update:

Big smiles. Pink life jackets. Blazing speed. Get used to seeing it. At the 2020 49erFX North American Championship, Wilmot and Reineke topped the coed fleet of seven boats to open their campaign for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

While the spotlight is on the preparation for the 2020 (postponed to 2021) Olympics, Wilmot and Reineke have been hard at work implementing a simple philosophy that they think will get them to the podium four years from now: outwork the competition.

“When most people think of Olympic training and competition, they think that everyone is spending as much time on the water as physically possible,” explains Wilmot. “But we have put a lot of time into thinking about the typical American Olympic campaign and have identified a dozen ways to make our training more efficient so that we spend more time on the water and less time doing other things that contribute to burn out.”

Among their secrets, Reineke shared, “Laughing as much as possible! We love sailing together, we are loving the process, and that’s something that makes a huge impact on the day to day and week to week attitudes.”

While the pair is cagey about exactly how many hours they’ve put in since their first sail together last March, Wilmot notes, “Let’s just say we’re talking about multiples of what the average campaign has gotten in that timeframe.”

The duo has teamed up with Coach Willie McBride who helped to launch USA’s Steph Roble and Maggie Shea‘s campaign for 2020 after coaching Paris Henken and Helena Scutt in the 49er FX at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Most recently, McBride worked with Henken and 2008 Laser Radial Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias, with that team narrowly missing out on the 2020 Olympic berth to Roble/ Shea in a double tiebreaker after a two year sprint to the Olympic trials.

“I was lucky enough to start working with Lucy three years ago when starting an Olympic campaign was only an idea, not a reality yet,” recalls McBride. “Since the beginning she has bought into a unique approach, sailing with a male crew for two years to get the inside track as training partners for the 2020 teams.

“When you pair that experience with Erika’s tactical background and willingness to throw herself into something new and different, you’ve got a pretty special combination.”

After the drought of US medals on the Olympic stage, however, the team is under no illusion that the process will be easy.

“Talent alone won’t get us there,” says Reineke, a veteran of two Olympic campaigns. “This is a totally new approach for us, and I think for anyone campaigning in the United States. We are 100% focused on the factors within our control, and while were the first to admit that we have a long way to go, our early metrics are ahead of schedule.”

The next generation of American high performance sailors is thinking outside of the box, and with T-minus just over three years to Paris, they have the hammer down!

Team information:

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