Captain's Corner - A Past Perspective
Senior captains Matthew Ricci and Alex Hitchcock share their thoughts about the upcoming season as well as give us a taste of what the team was like in the club days before it became varsity.
Matthew Ricci '15
Hey everyone, my name is Matt Ricci, and I'm one of this year's captains of the GW Sailing Team! I'm a senior studying Biological Anthropology in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and I'm also on the Pre-Med track. This year, the senior class represents the last class that was a part of the Club Sailing Team before we gained varsity status, so we wanted to share some of these perspectives as we continue to share our story with you.
When I joined the sailing team my freshman year, it was a modest club team with a lot of heart despite having the bare essentials. We were entirely student-run, and during practices we often joined the Georgetown Sailing Team in drills led by their head coach, Mike Callahan. Without a coach, this was one of the only ways we were able to structure our own practices. My time on Club Sailing was limited, however, thanks to the impressive dedication of the sailors before me who spearheaded our varsity campaign.
During my sophomore year, I was one of the lucky team members able to witness and partake in our transition to a Varsity Team. Seeing the transformation of this team over the past few years has been truly incredible, and I am fortunate to have been part of such a pivotal point in our team's history. Out of all of the benefits, amenities, and luxuries we gained in this transition, what I appreciate most is the fact that our Varsity status allows us to focus on what we are there to do, and that is simply to sail. We no longer have busy college students worried about maintaining and repairing our boats. We no longer have team members stressed about travel logistics each weekend. All we have to do is show up and sail. I believe this benefit alone has allowed us to compete at a much higher level due to our ability to focus on our sport with minimal distractions.
Being on a team with its sights set on becoming one of the nation's top sailing programs has taught me the power of working on a team of close-knit, dedicated individuals. With our continued perseverance and fearless leadership by our Head Coach, John Pearce, I know that GW Sailing is on its way to greater success than we've ever seen before.
Alexandria Hitchcock '15
My GW sailing career started the fall semester of my freshman year when I signed up to join while perusing the student organization booths. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew I wanted to be involved as I had grown up sailing and loved being on the water. If someone told me then that I would be a varsity sailor on a D1 team in less than a year, I probably would have laughed. I had little knowledge of the large plans my predecessors had in store for the team and what that entailed.
Those were the days when regatta weekends meant piling into someones car and driving eight hours, insanity from listening to the same homemade CD for hours on end, and sleeping on the floor of our closest friends houses wherever the regatta was hosted. It also meant being on a team comprised of friendships, inside jokes, and genuine compassion for the sport. In the two years since going varsity, floors have now turned into proper beds and eight hour drives have been made more comfortable by the coveted Ford vans. But of course that's not all - the introduction of our coach, John Pearce, has brought new insight, drive, and the leader we have needed to take our team to the next level.
With each year, our team continues to grow and strive to be the best we can be and live up to the expectations set by us, and for us. As we bring in new talent, there is a continued commitment to recognize where we started, and where we are going. Our unique bond between each and every one of us as teammates and friends has allowed the team to stay connected to our roots in the club days, while excelling as athletes on the water.
This upcoming year is going to be a monumental one! With more than 10 new members joining our team and an even greater drive to succeed, we have the perfect formula for success. Of course, the introduction of 18 new boats, a product of the Raise High the Sails Campaign, will surely help! It's going to be a great year and I am excited to see where we will go!