FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marlieke Eaton, 757-333-0823 or MarliekeEaton@ussailing.org
USA Hauls In Major Results At European Laser Radial Youth Championship
Finishing Second, Third, and Fourth in Girls’ Fleet
July 8, 2009 (Portsmouth, R.I.) – Three young female sailors from the USA have just proven once again that Team USA continues to be a dominant force in the Olympic Laser Radial class at the highest levels. Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Claire Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.), and Emily Billing (Clearwater, Fla.) today finished second, third, and fourth – respectively - at the very competitive, 75-boat European Laser Radial Youth Championship in Charlottenlund, Denmark.
The six-day regatta was sailed in challenging conditions caused by shifty winds. According to coach Caroline Brisebois, what kept the U.S. sailors strong throughout the regatta is that “they were very patient. Even if they had a bad result, they didn’t let it get to them and they came right back.”
In the days leading up to the regatta, the young athletes had the opportunity to train with two of the world’s top-ranked Laser Radial sailors: US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation, Fla. (currently ranked number one in the world and the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the Radial) and Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla. (currently ranked number three in the world). “Being around these experienced sailors and getting pointers on how to improve their own game was a unique opportunity for the girls and it definitely had tremendous impact on their performance,” said Brisebois. Reineke agreed, saying “Being on the water and training with the older sailors definitely made me a better sailor.”
For 15-year-old Erika Reineke, who only began sailing the Laser Radial earlier this year after moving up from the Optimist class, this event marks one of the high points of her young sailing career. “I’m very excited,” exclaimed the sophomore from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale moments before the awards ceremony. “The conditions were hard and all the competitors really pushed us to the limit.”
Claire Dennis and Emily Billing are not as new to the Laser Radial boat as Reineke and already have impressive sailing results on their resume. Third-place finisher Dennis, who will celebrate her 18th birthday on Friday, is a member of the US Sailing Team – Under 23, which was created earlier this year by US SAILING as part of the Olympic Class Development Teams. Members of this team are identified as future Olympic prospects who are transitioning from youth programs to the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program. Fourth-place finisher Emily Billing, who just turned 18 last week, is one of the youngest members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Both Dennis and Billing are planning to enter Yale University this fall.
For complete results of the European Laser Radial Youth Championship, please visit http://www.skovshoved-sejlklub.dk/6/public/raceResult.aspx?rid=55.
The summer season often marks the height of the sailing season, particularly in northern latitudes. Up next for Reineke is a brief trip home to Fort Lauderdale for some more training, followed by a trip to Japan for the Laser Radial World Championship scheduled for later this month. She is one of the youngest to qualify to compete in that regatta. Dennis and Billing are staying in Denmark to compete in the European Laser Radial Women’s Championship, which starts tomorrow and wraps up on Thursday, July 16.
For more information on the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and the US Sailing Teams – Under 23 and 18, please visit http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.
About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, and New England Ropes. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information about US SAILING, please visit: www.ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.