Golden Girl

She’s beauty and she’s grace, but she’s also the best young fe­male sailor in the land.

Sailing World - - Starting Line -

Erika Reineke is lovely. Yes, it’s an odd way to de­scribe some­one who kills it on the race­course, as she does in her Laser Ra­dial th­ese days. With un­bri­dled en­thu­si­asm for the sport, her pres­ence among the Olympic sail­ing squad brings out the best in her team­mates and friends. She also comes across as gen­uinely thrilled about ev­ery­thing in life, as one might ex­pect of a 24- year- old col­lege grad and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Reineke’s due recog­ni­tion fol­lows her se­lec­tion as col­lege sail­ing’s top fe­male, and four years as an All-amer­i­can at Bos­ton Col­lege. With an en­vi­ron­men­tal geo­science de­gree in hand, she’s now the US Sail­ing Team’s golden girl, with big hopes for Tokyo 2020.

What’s your se­cret to man­ag­ing such an in­tense sail­ing sched­ule and keep­ing a flaw­less com­plex­ion?

I am far from per­fect and I am def­i­nitely still learn­ing as I go for­ward, but I think it comes down to time man­age­ment while not los­ing sight of the im­por­tant things in life. As an aspir­ing Olympian, all I think about is go­ing out on the wa­ter and train­ing to per­form at my ab­so­lute best. How­ever, sail­ing would be­come a job or a chore for me if I didn’t find time to do other things I love, like hang­ing out with my fam­ily and friends or meet­ing new peo­ple and mak­ing more re­la­tion­ships. As a re­sult, I must be ef­fi­cient with my time on both fronts. All of my train­ing needs to be pur­pose­ful, with a spe­cific goal set be­fore I hit the wa­ter, but I also have to make time to get away from sail­ing and live my life. When­ever I have this bal­ance, I am not only able to per­form at my best when the time comes but I also feel at peace with the other part of my­self.

What’s the story be­hind your In­sta­gram han­dle?

My @ amerikan­dreem In­sta­gram han­dle was some­thing I thought would em­body the mean­ing of my Olympic cam­paign. The Amer­i­can dream is coined as a dream of a land in which life should be bet­ter and richer and fuller for every­one, with op­por­tu­nity for each ac­cord­ing to abil­ity or achieve­ment. I be­lieve this is what the Olympics is all about; dreams can be achieved through hard work, de­ter­mi­na­tion and ini­tia­tive. I just tweaked the name a lit­tle and added “erika” in there for fun.

Best-kept se­cret in Bos­ton?

Of course, the first thing I think of is food. There is an amaz­ing Asian restau­rant called Lit­tle Big Diner in New­ton Cen­tre near Bos­ton Col­lege. Their udon noo­dles and ra­men taste like heaven.

Are you a men­tal blue­print kind of per­son or a “get up in the morn­ing and see where life takes you” per­son?

I think I’m both. It’s great to have a plan for the next day, es­pe­cially if I have a ton of things to get done, but when I have some time to re­lax and hang out, I love to see where the day takes me.

You’re the ed­i­tor of this mag­a­zine. Who is on the cover, and what’s the head­line?

John John Florence would be on the cover, and the head­line would be “John John Takes Laser to Pipe.”

You never learned to sail. De­scribe your life today.

Bor­ing.

Do you have a hype song?

There are so many songs that get me ex­cited to go out and work hard on the wa­ter or in the gym. It’s hard for me to pick one. Re­cently, I have been lis­ten­ing to “Feels Great” by Cheat Codes and Fetty Wap.

You can give your­self as an Opti sailor one piece of ad­vice. What do you say to young Erika?

Live every day to the fullest, and al­ways re­mem­ber to have fun and smile.

Would you rather be able to tele­port or see into the fu­ture?

Tele­port, for sure. Then I would never have to get on an air­plane and travel to an event again, and I could go any­where any­time I want. Who would want to see the fu­ture? The mys­tery of it is the best part.

Weird­est thing you pack to travel to events?

I al­ways make sure to pack Banana­grams to play with my train­ing part­ners when we have some down­time.

Guilty plea­sure?

Binge- watch­ing The Of­fice on Net­flix. Michael Scott is the world’s best boss.

A ma­jor tele­vi­sion net­work asks you and fel­low U. S. Sail­ing Team ath­lete Bora Gu­lari to co-host an ex­er­cise TV show to hype the Tokyo Olympics. Are you down?

I am so down. Not only would Bora be the coolest guy ever to co- host with but, call me crazy, an ex­er­cise TV show would be so fun. Q

Colleen Bau­mann had a tough start to her col­lege sail­ing ca­reer — she couldn’t sail. She started her fresh­man year at Old Do­min­ion Univer­sity re­cov­er­ing from a shoul­der in­jury, which she sus­tained during a high school re­gatta the pre­vi­ous spring. Af­ter surgery, phys­i­cal ther­apy and a six-month re­cov­ery, she was fi­nally cleared to start sail­ing again in Jan­uary. Luck­ily, her new team­mates and coaches kept her in­volved and raised her spir­its.

“It was heart­break­ing not to be able to sail,” says Bau­mann. “Since I was 11 years old, the long­est I have ever gone with­out sail­ing is a cou­ple of months. I had to be out for a year be­cause of my shoul­der. It felt like a life­time.”

ODU coaches in­cluded Bau­mann in ev­ery­thing from sit­ting in on prac­tice in the coach boat to a spe­cial­ized weight-train­ing work­out. “Be­cause of this, I never felt like the odd man out on the team,” says Bau­mann. “Every­one treated me like a nor­mal team­mate, not some­one who they had never seen sail. That made a huge dif­fer­ence. It also helped me ad­just to col­lege a lot eas­ier with the struc­ture this pro­vided me,” she ex­plains. “It was help­ful to be able to see what the coaches saw during prac­tice.”

In­stead of dwelling on not be­ing able to sail, Bau­mann used her time with the coaches to learn about FJ tun­ing, boat po­si­tion­ing, course lever­age and fleet-rac­ing tac­tics.

Bau­mann is back sail­ing for the spring sea­son and learn­ing how to move in the boat with her re­cov­er­ing shoul­der.

“I strug­gled a lot to fig­ure out how to switch my tiller during tacks since I couldn’t reach my arm all the way be­hind my back, but my coach, Mitch Brind­ley, and team­mate Carter Lit­tle were help­ful in show­ing me new tech­niques,” she ex­plains. Her focus now is on im­prov­ing and get­ting her boathandling back to 100 per­cent.

Bau­mann at­tributes her love of sail­ing to the ex­pe­ri­ence she had grow­ing up in the Columbia YC pro­gram in Chicago. Her coach, Kurt Thom­sen, es­pe­cially in­flu­enced her.

“He went above and be­yond his job ti­tle and treated his sailors like fam­ily. He is the rea­son I’m able to be on ODU’S sail­ing team,” she says. Bau­mann sees the same com­mu­nity in col­lege sail­ing through her team­mates and the sailors on other teams she sees at re­gat­tas.

“My team­mates and coaches [ at ODU and Columbia] are my big­gest mo­ti­va­tion. So many peo­ple have put time into help­ing me be my best, and I want to not have wasted it. Sail­ing is one of the big­gest parts of my life, and I owe it to my­self and every­one else to do my best,” Bau­mann says. “My best friends are on my team. Every­one pushes each other to be their best whether it’s on the wa­ter, in the weight room or in the class­room.”

Bau­mann is look­ing for­ward to keep­ing up her GPA, stay­ing on the dean’s list and grad­u­at­ing on time with a ma­jor in mar­ket­ing and a mi­nor in po­lit­i­cal science.

But she is es­pe­cially look­ing for­ward to ODU host­ing the spring na­tion­als, and a chance to see the best sailors in col­lege sail­ing com­pete for the cham­pi­onship.

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