She’s beauty and she’s grace, but she’s also the best young female sailor in the land.
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.
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.
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.
GILL EDGE BOOTS New for 2018, the Gill Edge boots are both secure and flexible for optimized performance. Designed to promote agility in racing conditions, the wraparound soles protect your feet, allowing you to feel the boat, while the neoprene fabric...