Forgive the local sailors who just made the U.S. Olympic team for not standing in the spotlight.
After three years of hard work and with a full schedule of European
competition ahead of them, Liz Filter of Stevensville and Nancy Haberland of
Annapolis, along with Rhode Island skipper Carol Cronin, hung up a "Do Not
Disturb" sign this month.
The team, selected to compete in the Yngling class, leaves March 31 for
about five weeks of competition on the European regatta circuit to test their
skills against sailors already selected for the Athens games and those still
trying to make the cut.
"Europe has a very good Olympic circuit in spring and summer. We'll be
competing against some of the best," said Cronin.
The team will scoot home for some rest and then head back to Europe for
The home-and-away schedule puts the women back in Annapolis at the
beginning of June for the Women's Match Racing World Championship (formerly
the Santa Maria Cup), hosted by the Eastport Yacht Club.
There, the team of three will split, with Cronin and Filter sailing with
two other women and Haberland teaming with Liz Baylis and two others on J/22s.
"We qualified for this in November. Liz [Filter] and I decided it was very
important to have goals beyond the trials," Cronin said. "It's what we
jokingly call cross training."
In addition to family time, the women are still savoring their Olympic
trials victory last month in St. Petersburg, Fla., aboard Spidey, their
The win was "15 different emotions in one minute" followed by a surprise,
Her husband, Henry, who had said he wouldn't attend the Florida races to
avoid being a distraction, broke his promise.
As the team crossed the finish line after the first race on the final day
with the Olympic berth in hand, Filter saw her husband on one of the nearby
"My heart almost burst right there," she said. "It's so hard to surprise me
- birthdays, anniversaries - but he really did."
This will be the first Olympics to include Ynglings, nimble, 21-foot
keelboats with a maximum weight of 450 pounds.
"It's added visibility and added expectations for us," Cronin said. "The
U.S. traditionally medals in women's sailing events, in keelboats and in new
events. We're a three-for."
Only one Olympic class remains to be decided. Sailors in the Star class
will be trying for the final spot during racing March 18-28 at Florida's Coral
Reef Yacht Club and U.S. Sailing Center.
Injured Wilson optimistic
Blaine Wilson has been down before.
Yngling sailors take time for dose of March sanity
A month off precedes 5 weeks of racing in Europe
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