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Teams Complete Intense Fitness Camp at Olympic Training Center

Contact: Marni Lane,, 617-671-8332

The action never stopped for 63 members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and the US Sailing Development Team (USSDT), ages ranging from 16 to 41, during an intense fitness training camp at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) official Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., from March 18-21. Athletes were tested on their muscle strength and endurance, as well as boat-specific exercises. Several athletes achieved their personal bests in the timed plank, number of push ups and pull ups in a minute, timed shuttle runs, long jump, and other key tests, proving their commitment to fitness on and off the water are paying off.   

USSTAG and USSDTIn addition to testing fitness levels, Olympic Sailing Program’s High Performance Director/Head Coach Kenneth Andreasen designed the clinic to teach athletes how to customize an elite fitness plan that matches the boats they sail, as well as their positions on the boats, in order to reach their performance goals. Athletes were encouraged to work with trainers Chris Herrera, Brandon Sebald and Tara Eddings to customize a realistic fitness and workout plan to do at home, on the road while training and during events.  The trainers led several learning sessions broken into boat-specific groups, demonstrating exercises to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. 

“It was a lot of fun but a lot of work,” said Anna Tunnicliffe after the intense 45-minute pool test, a grueling relay race that included rotations of swimming, 20 push ups, swimming, 20 crunches, swimming, squats, swimming and “blurpees” (dropping to the ground in a push-up position, kicking your feet out and jumping back up again). “I’m nice and warmed up and ready for the next one,” she said smiling. Next up was an enthusiastic team-building exercise of synchronized swimming set to the tune of Abba’s Dancing Queen; each team was judged on creativity, synchronicity and the amount of time above water. 

Rob CraneThere was no rest for the weary: Back on dry land, athletes headed to the gym for more boat-specific tests, including tacking, line pulling and hiking. They were also tested on the tried-but-true rope climb and balancing on one leg, followed by an intense obstacle course and enthusiastic tug-of-war.

A fitness plan not only includes gym work and cardio, but mental endurance and nutrition. Sports psychologist Rick Campbell gave valuable guidance on staying focused and calm while competing, as well as communication tools for multi-person boats.  Sports nutritionist Bob Seebohar also conducted a seminar on nutrition periodization [Read an interview with Seebohar].

Anna TunnicliffeThe Colorado Springs camp was a successful springboard for the spring sailing season in Europe: Winning medals on the water starts with being in top physical and mental shape, and USSTAG and USSDT are determined to prove their top athleticism at ISAF Sailing World Cup events. Many athletes traveled directly from Colorado to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where they are now participating in an on-the-water training camp prior to the Princess Sofia Trophy, which begins Sunday, March 28.  

Check out all the action from the training camp in this photo gallery. [Photos by Walter Cooper, Katie Kelly, Dave Johnson and Marni Lane/ US SAILING]

Stay tuned for results from Palma, and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.