Now in its tenth year, the Quantum Woman Collegiate Sailor of the Year Award honors a female sailor who has performed at the highest level of competition in district and national championships. Sydney Bolger, a new graduate of Georgetown University, was named the 2012 award winner at the final banquet for the Sperry Top-Sider/ ICSA Women’s National Championships in Austin, Texas. Sydney had an outstanding year, winning A-division in nearly every women’s regatta she sailed this year including Nationals. We caught up with Sydney to learn more about her sailing accomplishments and plans for the future.
Q: You’ve had an incredible year – is there one event of the year that stands out for you?
SB: The event this year that stands out in my mind is the Atlantic Coast Championship, in which our team placed fourth overall just 12 points out of first. We had sailed a really strong regatta as a team, but a few errors kept us from clinching the overall win. It was then that I realized our team had a really good shot at winning Nationals. The Atlantic Coast Championship gave us a boost of encouragement that kept us motivated and working hard throughout the following spring season. Another event that is quite memorable for me is the St. Mary’s Spring Intersectional, in which Georgetown won the regatta almost 50 points ahead of the second place team. This was a really exciting win and I felt that we were really hitting our stride toward winning the 2012 Women’s Nationals.
Sydney Bolger with her award after being named the
2012 Quantum Woman Collegiate Sailor of the Year.
Q: You’ve been sailing for a long time. When did you start setting goals for yourself as a competitive sailor? And what has the journey been like for you?
SB: The first goal that I set as a competitive sailor was for the 2005 Sabot Nationals, for which my goal was to finish first female competitor. That year, I placed 4th overall and first female competitor. After that point, I rarely considered where I placed in regattas respective to other female competitors, but rather where I placed overall. I couldn’t be happier that I chose to pursue competitive sailing as my primary sport. It is such a unique sport in that I know I will have the opportunity to continue competing for so many years to come. Also, the experiences that I have had and the friendships I have made through sailing will stay with me forever.
Q: You’ve been named to the 2012 US Sailing Olympic Development Team for the Women’s 470 Class. What does that mean for you?
SB: I am very pleased to be a part of the 2012 US Sailing Olympics Development Team. I believe this team, which was conceived just three years ago has been instrumental in the transition from youth sailing, through college sailing, and onto the Olympic sailing circuit. Everyone involved with the team has been very supportive and helpful throughout this transition and for that I am very thankful. My plan is to begin training in the 470 this fall with the hope of competing in the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Q: How long have you sailed with your crew? How did she help your performance?
SB: I would attribute a good deal of our success this season to the fact that my crew, Rebecca Evans, and I have sailed together for almost three years consistently. Having the opportunity to sail together everyday at practice and every weekend at regattas allowed us to improve and create cohesion in the boat. There is a lot that goes into forming a good skipper/crew relationship including coordination in boat handling, as well as the mental component. Rebecca is a truly phenomenal crew who inspires confidence in me each time she steps foot in the boat. The way in which Rebecca has helped my performance the most though, is her ability to say just the right thing to refocus me when a race or a day of sailing has not gone the way we expected it to.
Q: Anything you'd like to add regarding your sailing career so far?
SB: Sailing for me has always been fun and I think that is one of the primary reasons why I’ve stuck with it and experienced success throughout my years sailing. It’s my passion for this sport that has been the driving force behind all of the success that I have achieved thus far.
Sydney Bolger Sailing Career Highlights
4th Place, top female competitor at 2005 Junior Sabot Nationals
Winning 2007 Orange Bowl in the Club 420
Bronze Medal at the 2009 I420 World Championships
Winning the 2008 Atlantic Coast Championship, my freshman year
2x A Division winner in the Atlantic Coast Championship
2x A Division winner in the ICSA Women’s National Championship
4x All American Honoree