CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Intercollegiate Sailing Association's three national championships get underway this week beginning with the Sperry Top-Sider/ICSA Women's National Championship on June 1-2, the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship on June 3-5 and the ICSA/Gill Dinghy National Championship on June 6-8 in Austin, Texas.
Hosted by the University of Texas Sailing Team and the Austin Yacht Club, the national championship regattas will take place on Lake Travis, about 30 minutes west of Austin which last played host to the national championships in 2005. All of the events will be sailed in Club Flying Juniors (CFJs).
"We have learned a lot over the last couple of weeks, especially after sailing well at the national semifinals in Annapolis," CofC Head Coach Ward Cromwell said. "We've done a lot of work on our speed, and hopefully, that is going to pay off for us in Texas. It's great opportunity for everyone and we are certainly excited about the women's team earning a berth. We have a lot of potential in the team racing and coed events and we look forward to going down there and performing at our best."
The Cougars, who are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest Sailing World's College Coed Rankings, are one of the favorites in the team race and dinghy competitions. They will send their top core group of sailors to compete in senior All-American Alyssa Aitken, senior All-American Zeke Horowitz (Sarasota, Fla.), senior All-American Perry Emsiek (Corona del Mar, Calif.), junior All-American Mac Mace (Newport Beach, Calif.), junior Ben Spector (Santa Clarita, Calif.), junior Jeff Aschieris (Newport Beach, Calif.), junior Cory DeCollibus (Duxbury, Mass.), senior Sam Stokes (Norfolk, Va.) and junior Brooks Clark (Newport Beach, Calif.).
CofC is one of 14 teams in the team-racing regatta field and one of 18 teams in the coed regatta field. Aitken and Emsiek are the only members on the squad who will compete in all three events.
Racing will begin on June 3 for the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship. The 14 teams will be divided into two groups of seven and each group will complete a single round-robin to determine a gold fleet of the top eight teams. Once the top eight teams have been determined that gold fleet will complete a double round-robin to determine the top Final Four teams, while a single consolation round-robin will be held for the six remaining teams who were not in the gold fleet. The four top teams will compete for the Walter C. Wood Memorial Trophy.
Meanwhile, the ICSA/Gill Dinghy National Championship will commence on June 6 for the 18 qualified collegiate coed teams. It will consist of a single round-robin of racing scheduled to continue through June 8. The teams will be competing for the Henry A. Morse Memorial Trophy.
The CofC women, who are ranked No. 13 in the country, received an at-large berth into the ICSA Women's National Semifinals. They will be represented by Aitken, Emsiek, senior Corey Hall (St. Petersburg, Fla.), junior Sarah Somes (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.), sophomore Grace Lucas (Little Silver, N.J.) and sophomore Carly Shevitz (Santa Barbara, Calif.).
"I'm super excited to compete in the women's event at nationals this year," said Emsiek, who previously only competed with the women's team as a freshman. "As for team racing and coed, we have been working hard this past week and semis was a great regatta to end the regular season on. We had a very strong finish and sailed four teams there (in Annapolis). We are hoping to do our best and hopefully, the results will show and we will be standing on the podium."
The top nine finishing teams in the women's semifinal move on to nationals where there will be 18 schools competing for the Gerald C. Miller Memorial Trophy with nine seeded teams who already received a bye.
"You always go into it wanting to win," said Aitken, who will be competing at nationals for the fourth-straight year. "I think we all know we have a really good shot at it, especially if we can pull it together and everyone brings everything they have to the competition. We are excited and we know that if we go into it ready and rested, we will do really well."
The 10 days will cover a variety of different weather conditions and racing run and judged by premiere sailors in the sport. Watch live media coverage of the regattas by clicking on the Live Media link at: http://2012nationals.collegesailing.org/
The University of Texas will also provide daily text and photo updates for each of the regattas. Chris Love Productions will also provide video highlights of competition on May 31-June 5 as well as live video streaming coverage presented by Maclaren of the final days of the ICSA/APS Team Race Championship on June 4-5.