“My goals are to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, study at the Coast Guard Academy and then work in National Security.” – Laura
Who is your hero?
My hero(s) are my parents for certain. One memory that I will always remember is when I first started racing competitively by myself in a single person boat called an Opti, my parents rushed home from work to get me to the yacht club for Wednesday night races. They helped me get my boat all set up and ready to go, and when it was finally time to launch the boat, I got so scared of being out there alone and I was standing on the beach refusing to get in the boat. Luckily, my dad knew how to convince me to do anything, so I did end up getting in the boat that night and going out to race, but that does go to show that I wouldn’t be half of who I am today without their guidance.
How did you first become interested in sailing?
I started sailing when I was 8 years old at summer camp at my local Yacht Club in Bellport, New York. After a few summers of beginner sailing I was placed on the racing team. I was lucky enough to have a great coach who took the team to the New England Championship, which had about 250 boats. This allowed me my first real taste of a big competition and what racing in a competitive fleet was all about.
What is the best part of your sport?
The best part about sailing is being able to travel to many different places and experience the unique factors that make each place unlike the last. When I arrive at a new venue for a regatta, I spend the practice days doing boat prep and adapting to the different wind, current, weather, and sea state among all the other factors. I love the challenge of sailing because no day is ever the same. Every sailor has to consider so many things when racing and must constantly adapt and adjust.
What is your biggest accomplishment in sailing thus far?
Overall, my biggest accomplishment in sailing is competing against people who are much older than me and who have much more experience at this level of racing, with some of them holding medals from multiple Olympics and World Championships. Being the youngest sailor at most of the events I compete in is often hard, but I’m proud that I am capable of soaking up everything I can from them and race at their level.
Where is the coolest place you have traveled for sailing?
The coolest place I’ve been to is definitely Japan. I spent 43 days there this past summer. My favorite part about it was how different the culture was and that I was able to experience what it was like to actually live there.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is from my coach. After a tough day of racing, if I am upset with the results and frustrated with my performance, he says, “If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.”
Why did you choose to attend USPA?
I chose to attend USPA because it is entirely geared toward athletes. They understand the high demands it takes to be an athlete competing at this level and make an effort to learn everything they can about each student’s sport. USPA provides the support it takes for me to be not only successful in sailing but also school.
What is your favorite part of being a USPA student?
For me, the best part about being a USPA student has been learning to be independent and responsible for managing my own time.