Rio Olympic Test Event (Sailing): Haeger & Provancha (USA) Come From Behind to Take 470 Gold

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Pictured: Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.), Women’s 470 gold medalists at the 2015 Olympic Test Event. Photo: Onne van der Wal/US Sailing Team Sperry.


August 22, 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – US Sailing Team Sperry Women’s 470 athletes Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) claimed gold at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta (the second and final Olympic Test Event), coming from behind and winning the top spot during Saturday’s double-points medal race. The result stands as a significant career achievement for the American pair, and a clear indicator that should they win the US Olympic Trials, they will be firm medal contenders at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In the Men’s 470 class, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) finished 6th in the medal race and 7th overall after battling at the top of the fleet for much of the week.

“We made a strong commitment as a team to training in Rio in preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. “Our team’s performance at this year’s Test Event showed that we can contend in Rio. We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us and believe that as a team we can build on this positive experience.”

A year ago at the first Olympic Test Event, Haeger and Provancha entered the medal race in a three-way tie for the lead, and finished outside of the top three in frustrating fashion. This time, however, the Americans would not be denied. “It doesn’t feel real,” said Haeger, a US All-American athlete and ICSA College Sailor of the Year. “We’ve been battling this whole regatta, and had a great final series. The last race yesterday we struggled a bit, so to pull through in this medal race, and to be wearing these [medals], is so cool.”


Pictured: Women’s 470 medalists, Olympic Test Event: Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (Great Britain), Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (United States), Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (New Zealand). Photo: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images.

When asked what made the difference this year, Haeger said it was another twelve months spent with their coach, 470 legend Dave Ullman (Newport Beach, Calif.). “We’ve got Dave Ullman on our side. That’s a big plus on our end,” said Haeger. “We’ve gotten our medal race swagger on, and I’m really excited. Everything seems to be clicking together.” Provancha said she’s pleased with the momentum that their campaign continues to build. “This was huge for us, especially leading up to our worlds next month in Haifa [Israel],” said Provancha. “In terms of sailing in Rio, we’ve been training here a lot, and working really hard. If I learned anything this week down here, it’s to be ready for anything. You have to be able to adapt.”

Haeger also identified a strong team culture as a contributing factor in their success this week. “You could see it as we came in off the beach,” said Haeger. “There were American flags flying, tons of people there, and it was such a cool atmosphere. We share info [about sailing conditions in Rio] and every little bit helps. We have so much talent on this team, in every class, and the combination of [US Sailing Team Sperry] coaches and sailors has been really great.”

In the Men’s fleet, 2015 470 European Champions Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) spent much of the regatta in podium position, but were unable to defend their hard-earned leader jerseys during the regatta’s final days. McNay and Hughes entered today’s medal race with a shot at the podium, but their task become significantly harder when the American boat was called over the starting line early (OCS), and had to return. “The boats to leeward of us were for over for sure, but it took us a few seconds to realize that we had been penalized as well,” said McNay. Despite the tough start, the US Sailing Team Sperry veterans fought their way back into the race. “Our pre-race plan for the first beat was absolutely correct, so by following that despite the OCS we made up massive ground. Thankfully, we re-entered the race, fought hard from there, and finished 6th in the medal race and 7th overall.” When asked to reflect on their results, McNay was upbeat. “We absolutely feel that we showed to ourselves and others that we will be medal contenders in August 2016. The back half of our event didn’t go as well as it could have, but we’re confident that when we firm up some details of our program we’ll be able to get it done when it counts.”

Racing at the 2015 Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta (Olympic Test Event) took place from August 15-22, with medal race occurring over the final three days of competition.

27148938 ©Onne van der Wal / Sea&Co /OSM . NEW YORK CITY - NEW YORK- USA. 1st June 2014. Start of IMOCA OCEAN MASTERS NY-BCN Race ( 3700NM), double handed sailing race.

Pictured: Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.), Men’s 470.

2015 Olympic Test Event, USA Results: Final

Full Results

Women’s 470 (Women’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  • 1st overall, Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.)

Laser Radial (Women’s One-Person Dinghy):

  • 4th overall, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.)

Men’s 470 (Men’s Two-Person Dinghy):

  • 7th overall, Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (Miami, Fla.)

Laser (Men’s One-Person Dinghy):

  • 7th overall, Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Finn (Men’s One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy):

  • 15th overall, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.)

Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull): 

  • 16th overall, Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and Matthew Whitehead (Panama City, Fla.)

49erFX (Women’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

  • 16th overall, Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.)

49er (Men’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff):

  • 18th overall, Brad Funk (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.)

Women’s RS:X (Women’s Board):

  • 19th overall, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.)

Men’s RS:X (Men’s Board):

  • 24th overall, Carson Crain (Houston, Texas)

Rio Olympic Test Event Reports

SEE ALSO: “Team No Filter,” Haeger & Provancha – UNCHARTED WATERS

The Medalist Newsletter: US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing News

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