Sarah Douglas: On the road to Paris 2024

Published on August 8th, 2022

Reigning women’s Pan American champion Sarah Douglas (CAN) is focused on the Paris 2024 Olympics, eager to improve on her sixth place in the Women’s One Person Dinghy event at Tokyo 2020. Now 28 years old, she shares the effort to get there:

Training at the 2023 World’s Venue
After the Allianz Regatta (World Cup Series Amsterdam, May 31-June 5), I headed to the other side of Holland to sail in the ocean at the venue of the 2023 World Championships. It is important to get some time in this venue as the 2023 Worlds in The Hague will be the first opportunity to qualify Canada for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

There were 10 athletes present and it was great to all work together for training and racing each day. The course has a strong tidal influence and I learned a lot about how current works and the Holland coastline. This venue can also bring swell which I don’t have much experience in, so it’s always great to get the opportunity to sail in swell and turn a weakness into a strength.

Overall, it was a great week of training to wrap up a long block in Holland and working with Steven LeFevre as my guest coach (who is now off to work with the Norway and Finland ILCA 6 sailors).

Dealing with injury
Just before heading to Holland, my sports doctor ordered an MRI for some hip pain that I’ve been dealing with for a long time. I have a small labral tear in my hip (luckily, there is no need for surgery) and I am fortunate to have an amazing support team in place.

It turns out that my month-long break that was planned early this year was the perfect time to rehab my hip, take the mental rest, and reset and to prepare for next 4 busy months. During this time, we decided to test out what movements were potentially bothering it and I took a short break from biking and found a new appreciation for running. Yet again, my integrated support team came together and all contributed to making my hip stronger.

2024 Olympic Venue
My coach (Vaughn Harrison) and I are back at the 2024 Olympic Venue in Marseille, France. Most of the top sailors from around the world are here in France to train during the ‘Olympic period’ – the two week block that the Olympics will be held in two years from now (July 28-August 8, 2024).

We had a range of conditions and Marseille has proved to be a tricky place to sail with changing conditions and wind patterns. This two week block has proved that we need to spend more time here sailing and studying this venue. During the second week, we had a coach’s regatta with 46 top sailors. Basically, a tough gold fleet where any mistake is definitely shown. I learned a ton and showed good progress throughout my time in Marseille.

My strength and conditioning coach (Sheldon Persad) joined us for some time in Marseille. It was great to have Sheldon here at the Olympic venue to get an inside look at what the training, racing, and overall routine along with hydration tracking, programming, and so much more.

What’s next?
More training at the 2024 Olympic Venue on August 22-30, 2022.

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