REAR­DON

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - ——— Reach Dave Rear­don at drea­r­don@starad­ver­tiser.com or 529-4783. His blog is at Hawai­i­war­rior­world.com/quick-reads.

pound­ing as a cen­ter at Wis­con­sin-Eau Claire, he’d had enough of ice.

“I wrote let­ters to (then-Rain­bows coach) Ted Liv­ingston about sail­ing for UH and never looked back,” says John­son, who grad­u­ated from Manoa in 1983 in ed­u­ca­tion.

Don’t let John­son’s day job as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor at the school’s recre­ation ser­vices pro­gram fool you into think­ing the sail­ing team falls into the cat­e­gory of leisure ac­tiv­ity. Th­ese are real ath­letes, and UH is con­sis­tently among the most com­pet­i­tive of around 300 schools in the ICSA.

“In most ways it’s like any other sport,” John­son says. Cole Brauer, who crews usu­ally with skip­per Pa­chol­ski in co-ed com­pe­ti­tion, is an ex­am­ple of the ath­leti­cism re­quired.

She was a soc­cer goal­keeper, 3,000-me­ter run­ner and cheer­leader in high school on Long Is­land, N.Y. Brauer had no com­pet­i­tive sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore UH, but John­son knew she could be de­vel­oped into a win­ning crew in two-handed races.

In four years, she went from novice to two-time All-Amer­i­can headed to her fourth na­tional cham­pi­onships, largely be­cause of her agility and pound-for-pound strength.

“It’s the whole body. Some­times it’s even crank­ing your neck a cer­tain way,” Brauer says.

But her abil­ity to read sit­u­a­tions dur­ing races is her best at­tribute, ac­cord­ing to her team­mate.

“She’s learned a lot about the tac­tics be­hind sail­ing, and that’s very help­ful when you have a crew who knows what to look for on the wa­ter,” Pa­chol­ski says. “Dif­fer­ent wind di­rec­tions, keep­ing track of dif­fer­ent boats. That’s a re­ally im­por­tant qual­ity and Cole def­i­nitely has that.”

Says John­son of Brauer: “On the skip­per side of things you need to start young. We do take stu­dents with lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence, and Cole Brauer, a one-time soc­cer goalie, 3,000-me­ter run­ner and cheer­leader, is headed to her fourth na­tional cham­pi­onship. She usu­ally is teammed with skip­per Michael Pa­chol­ski, right, in co-ed com­pe­ti­tion. if they have the right size and ath­leti­cism we can make them good crew. (Brauer is) a gen­uinely good ath­lete, on the ball and ex­tremely in­tel­li­gent.” They are a light team, with Pa­chol­ski at 5 feet 11 and 140 pounds and Brauer at 5-2 and 98. That makes things chal­leng­ing in windy con­di­tions like those of­ten en­coun­tered in Hawaii wa­ters, but can be an ad­van­tage at Charleston, where it will likely be calmer.

Last month, Brauer be­came the third sail­ing team mem­ber to win the Jack Bon­ham Award, given an­nu­ally to the two UH stu­dent-ath­letes most accomplished in “ath­letic ex­cel­lence, aca­demic achieve­ment, pub­lic ser­vice, lead­er­ship and char­ac­ter.” She grad­u­ated in nu­tri­tion this spring and plans to con­tinue on to med­i­cal school. The ICSA women’s cham­pi­onships start Tues­day. The co-ed team race cham­pi­onships get un­der­way Satur­day and co-ed dinghy com­pe­ti­tion be­gins May 30.

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