Ninth Grader Represents U.S. in European Regatta
Every year, the U.S. Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) sends four adolescent sailors to compete against top sailors from all over the world. This year, they have designated Kathryn Hall '17 the top female sailor to compete in the 2013 European Optimist Championship – a four-day regatta on Lake Balaton in Hungary starting June 29.
“I am very excited to be representing the United States in Hungary,” said Hall (pictured below the 2012 USODA Girls Nationals in Sandusky, Ohio). “It takes a tremendous amount of strength and endurance to keep up with the competitors, especially the boys! Being the top U.S. female sailor means all of my hard work has really paid off.”
The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), which promotes the sport of sailing among young people, hosts continental and world regattas, including the European Championship, which admits four sailors from each country into the competition.
Hall, who began competitive racing at USODA regattas at age 12, will bring her own sails onto Lake Balaton. According to her mother, Lisa Hall, she chose the JSail brand for its more advanced radial cut sail, which capitalizes on high wind conditions.
“The lake will offer oscillating, persistent and geographic wind shifts for the more experienced sailors,” said Hall's mom. “Such conditions present a greater challenge than sailing on open water.”
Hall's year-round preparation for this competition is vigorous, including regular workouts and traveling each weekend to Long Island, NY or Annapolis, MD to sail. In addition to her training outside of school, Hall played on the tennis, squash and lacrosse teams and served as the Student Council athletic representative for her eighth grade year, an elected position.
“Kathryn has worked tirelessly to earn the ranking of top female sailor on the United States Optimist sailing team,” said Katie Cooper, assistant athletic director at Agnes Irwin. “I admire her dedication to being an integral part of her class here at Agnes Irwin in the midst of training to be a world-class sailor.”
Aspiring to one day qualify for the U.S. Olympic sailing team, the 14-year-old sailor credits her school with instilling a strong sense of self-awareness within her. “I would not have the amount of confidence and strength that I portray in many regattas if Agnes Irwin had not taught me everything I know about sportsmanship, courage and determination.”
Over the last year, she qualified and competed as an Optimist sailor representing the United States in both Belgium and Spain.
Beginning Saturday, June 29, one can track Hall and other 2013 European Optimist Championship competitors through live GPS race tracking and replays provided online: http://www.optieuro2013.com/regatta-info/gps-tracking/