Wollmann named in final Red Bull squad
Just when you thought that Cecilia Wollmann's year could not get any better, it just did.
Fresh off a maiden Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro, the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club sailor has made the final cut on the team to represent Bermuda at next year's Red Bull Youth America's Cup in the Great Sound.
Wollmann, who placed 34th in the 37-strong women's Laser Radial fleet in Rio on her senior Olympic debut, is one of two female sailors included in the squad, the other being Emily Nagel, who competed at the 2014 Women's World Match Racing Championship and last year's ISAF Team Racing World Championships.
Also included were Mackenzie Cooper, who earned a bronze medal with his St Mary's College of Maryland team-mates at this year's Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team Race National Championship, Owen Seise who competed for Bermuda at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, and Dimitri Stevens, who was one of the youngest participants in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race.
Missing out were Na'eem Griffith, the PHC footballer, Kalin Hillier, who won bronze in the Laser competition at last year's NatWest Island Games, Nicholas Pell, whose brother Danny made the cut, and Preston Farrow.
The final squad of 11 was confirmed after an intensive training camp held last week and is the culmination of a selection process, involving 100 athletes from various sporting backgrounds, that commenced late last year with initial fitness trials.
The final squad was selected by Richard Clarke and Michael Barnes, the team coaches, Shaun Green, the squad's strength and conditioning trainer, from a group of 15 who have been together since April.
“Everyone in that group deserved a spot on the team but when you are competing at an elite level tough decisions have to be made,” Clarke said. “Bermuda can be incredibly proud of what all these young people have achieved.”
Laura Cutler, the team manager, added: “The young people that did this clinic were exceptional and it was a very, very difficult decision that the coaches had to make.”
The final racing team will consist of six sailors with others supporting as training partners and a shore team.
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup will be contested in the physically demanding foiling AC45F catamaran, the same class being used in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series.
“Given the incredible physical and mental demands of racing an AC45, we have sought to not only identify Bermuda's best young sailors, but also our best young athletes,” Jane Savage, the Team Bermuda committee chairperson, said. “We're confident that we have accomplished that goal, blending our sailing talent with competitors from a variety of sporting backgrounds, including football, boxing and rugby.”
Team sailors have already begun coming to grips with high-performance sailing honing their skills in the non-foiling Olympic class Nacra 17 and foiling GC32 catamarans.
“To have these young athletes sailing an Olympic class boat is simply a phenomenal achievement, especially as several of them had little or no sailing experience before the Team Bermuda tryouts,” Savage said.
The Red Bull Youth America's Cup provides young sailors aged 19 to 23 with a pathway to the senior America's Cup level.
The inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup took place just before the first races of the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 and was won by Team New Zealand whose team included Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, gold medal winners in the 49er class at the Rio Olympics.
• Camille Chin-Gurret and Michael Wollmann finished ninth at the C420 North American Championship this weekend.
The pair, competing at the regatta for the first time, were second in the under-16 youth division.
Bermuda: Connor Astwood, Mackenzie Cooper, Peter Dill, Philip Hagen, Mustafa Ingham, Emily Nagel, Danny Pell, Owen Siese, Dimitri Stevens, Shomari Warner, Cecilia Wollmann.