Name: Rachel Perry
School: Roger Williams University
Roger Williams Sailing Team: http://bit.ly/RWUSailing
Why did you choose Roger Williams? What other programs did you look at?
One of the schools I was looking at seriously was the Naval Academy. The girl I sailed with in high school ended up going there. So, the Navy coach thought it would be great if we both went together, and continued sailing in the same boat. I also looked at USF, but being from Tampa, I decided it was too close to home. Prior to making the decision I looked up all of the results from the season. Roger Williams looked like it was really developing as a program, and NEISA in general was just more competitive across the board. I also liked that you didn’t really have to fly to regattas, and there are a lot of shorter drives to Boston for events. It was also nice to see that Roger Williams’ women’s team was just starting to grow, and I wanted to be a part of building that part of the program.
What are you studying?
I am getting my major in Journalism, and am getting minors in Marketing and Design. The minors are subject to change at this point.
How do you balance school work?
You just have to stay organized by keeping a schedule. We usually have workouts before class, practice right after classes, and then you will have some time after that. This means you may have to cut out a good deal of your social life once sailing season starts.
What do you like about College Sailing? Dislike?
The team is really focused on team racing, especially in the spring. I enjoy this a lot because it really brings our team together. The whole group works in unison as we move toward the end of the season championships, and you don’t see a lot of huge rivalries between the sailors.
I don’t like the really long drives that we have to do from time to time. It’s a little tiring and boring after a while, but you’re surrounded by all of your friends to help you get through it.
What are practices like?
We usually warm up for 30 minutes with some boat handling drills. In the spring, these are all geared toward team racing. Then we continue with a lot of drills based on wherever we are in the season. During fleet racing, that will include a lot more speed testing drills. During team racing season, we do a lot more pig in the middle type drills.
A side note about our practices is that it is very windy most of the time. So you have to get prepared to do a lot of heavy air sailing.
What is the biggest sailing challenge? Non-sailing challenge?
It is really tough is sailing in the cold. When you’re originally from Florida, you really don’t own, or have to wear, much gear. That was a bit of an adjustment, and still is not something I am not totally used to.
Mentally, the sailing is also a lot more intense than it was in high school. There is sort of a GO, GO, GO attitude at regattas where you don’t get a lot of rest or pause between races. You really have to prepare yourself to race all the time, in all the elements, from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and then prepare to do it again the next day.
The toughest non-sailing challenge is not necessarily balancing the work, but learning when you will or won’t have time to balance the work. For example, a lot of people try to do work in the van rides, but I’ve never had the ability to get much work done there. That just never worked for me, so I found out that I had to get my work done prior to hopping in the van on Friday afternoons.
What are your personal and team goals for this year? By the time you graduate?
This year the goal is to qualify the women’s team for nationals. If we get it this year, it will be the first time they have ever qualified! As a team goal, we want to qualify all three teams for nationals (Coed, Team Racing, Women’s).
More personally, I would like to make an All-NEISA Team this year, and make the All-American Team before I graduate.