World Sailing - Australia announces Olympic skiff selections
Thursday, February 27, 2020 9:00 AM
Family connections dominated today's announcement of Australia's Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailing selections.
Victorian brothers Will and Sam Phillips have been selected as Australia's representatives in the 49er class, where Australia has a strong history of success including Gold and Silver medals in the past two Olympic Games.
In the 49erFX class, the fledgling pair of Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Jaime Ryan (NSW) will be on the plane to Tokyo alongside Ryan's brother Will who has already been selected in the Men's 470 class.
Lloyd and Ryan only teamed up early in 2018, but since that time have gone from strength to strength.
"Jaime and I been sailing together for two years and we've clicked. Jaime brings so much to the team from Rio, she has so much maturity and experience," said Lloyd.
"In the moment, when we're on the boat, I can't explain it - the communication's flowing, decisions made instinctively, it all comes together. In the middle of the chaos there's no double guessing, it feels natural."
This will be Ryan's second Olympics shared with her brother, as they competed in the Women's and Men's 470 classes respectively at Rio 2016.
"I am really excited to be able to share this experience with him again. We have been a big part of one another's sailing careers our whole lives, and now we get to continue that at another Olympics," said Ryan. "To be honest I would have been going to Tokyo as a cheerleader if I wasn't an athlete, but I would definitely rather be there as an athlete."
The Phillips brothers have put together a strong twelve months on the racetrack, culminating in their fifth place at the recent 49er World Championships.
Skipper Will commented on the partnership he shares with his brother, saying, "It is pretty special for the two of us. We know each other pretty well and whilst it would be special to go to an Olympics with any sailing partner, it is even more special to go with my brother Sam."
The announcement was made at Double Bay Sailing Club on Sydney Harbour where Australian Sailing President, Daniel Belcher, was on hand to congratulate Australia's newest Olympians.
"Both of these teams have been on an upward trajectory and we look forward to seeing what they can do in Japan in less than 150 days' time," said Belcher.
The Australian Sailing Team's Performance Director, Iain Murray AM, paid tribute to those who missed out on selection.
"We are fortunate to have fantastic depth in our skiff classes, and both decisions were extremely difficult for the nomination panel," said Murray. "The two teams selected deserve this opportunity, and we look forward to watching them race in Enoshima later this year."
Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman welcomed the four sailors to the Tokyo 2020 team.
"Congratulations to Jaime, Tess, Sam and William on being selected to the Olympic Team today," Mr Chesterman said.
"It's exciting to see Sailing put together such a world class team, and I look forward to seeing them take on the challenge in Tokyo.
"It is a phenomenal accomplishment to make an Olympic Team and today is worth celebrating not just for the selected athletes, but their coaches, support staff, families friends and supporters who helped make them the athletes and people they are today."
The sailors announced today join Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (Men's 470) and Matt Wearn (Laser), who were selected to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team in September 2019.
In the Nacra 17 class, the nomination process is ongoing and has not yet been finalised. There will be a public announcement at the conclusion of the that process.
Enoshima is a special place for the sport of sailing in Australia. The venue for the 2020 Games is the same harbour that Bill Northam and the crew of the Barranjoey won Australia's first ever sailing Olympic Gold on in 1964.
The latest crop of Olympians will be hoping to recreate those efforts and continue Australia's fine record of success in Olympic sailing.