Feb. 4, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Junior Thomas Barrows was elected as the captain of the coed sailing team during a team vote Monday morning at Ray Tompkins House. Barrows, who has been one of the top sailors on the team since his arrival at Yale in 2006 and competed in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympics for the U.S. Virgin Islands, will seek to lead the No. 12 Bulldogs to yet another ICSA National Championship appearance this spring.
Being a leader on the Yale team is nothing new to Barrows. He also was elected and served as the captain of the team for the spring 2008 and fall 2008 seasons. Under Barrows' watch, the team qualified for the ICSA/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championships, where the team placed eighth overall. The team also was ranked in the top 15 all of the fall season, achieving a top ranking of second nationally. Barrows is the second Bulldog sailing captain to be selected for two consecutive terms, joining Matthew Barry '07 as the only male Bulldogs to have the distinction since the team became a varsity sport in 2002.
McNay Family Director of Yale Sailing Zachary Leonard '89 is excited to have Barrows serve as captain for another term.
"Thomas has been a great team member and a good leader," Leonard said. "He leads by example. He shows that you can really enjoy working hard at something. My main goal for the season is that we all continue to improve at the fastest rate possible."
On the water, Barrows has been a consistently dominant competitor. In his freshman season for the Bulldogs, he barely missed qualifying for the ICSA Singlehanded National Championships. In his first regatta of the spring, Barrows took second at the Charleston Spring Intersectional. This was just the first of many strong performances during the spring season. Barrows led the team to a second-place finish at the ICSA Team Race National Championship and a third-place finish at the ICSA Coed Dinghy National Championship. Barrows won B Division at the ICSA Dinghy National Championships and was named an ICSA All-American skipper for his accomplishments. He competed and placed eighth at the Pan Am Games in the Laser class representing the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Success continued in Barrows' sophomore season of competition. He became the first male athlete in Yale history to win the ICSA Singlehanded Championship held in Lasers in the fall season. Upon election as the Bulldog captain in January 2008, Barrows was able to make a contribution both on and off the water for the team. He opened the season by leading the team to a victory at the John Jackson Team Race. He followed that up by dominating the Laser division at the tough Truxton Umsted Intersectional. Barrows also won A Division at the Owen and Mosbacher-Knapp Trophies, leading the team to an Ivy League Championship. Perhaps the biggest win of the season was at the ICSA Coed Dinghy National Championship Semifinals. Barrows won B Division at the event and helped the Bulldogs qualify for the ICSA/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championship, where the team placed seventh, with Barrows fifth in B Division. He was named an ICSA All-American skipper for the second time at the completion of the season.
Barrows feels that he learned a lot by serving as the captain of the team for a year.
"I learned a lot as captain during the past year," Barrows said. "To be specific, I probably learned the most about how to communicate to teammates about their roles on the team and how they fit into the team's long-term and short-term plans."
Perhaps one of Barrows' greatest accomplishments came on the world stage. After being an avid competitor in the Laser class on the college, national and international stage for years, a huge dream came true for Barrows in the summer of 2008. Barrows was selected as the U.S. Virgin Islands representative in the Laser class for the 2008 Olympic Games. He competed strongly against the world's best sailors, finishing 21st in a fleet of 43 competitors. He is the only Yale sailor ever to compete in the Laser class at the Olympic Games.
After the Olympics, Barrows continued his success in college regattas. Moving up to sailing A Division, Barrows achieved a victory in his division and led the team to an overall victory at the Hood Trophy Intersectional. Barrows also placed fifth at the ICSA Singlehanded National Championship.
Barrows is excited to have the opportunity to serve the team as captain again. He feels as though he will be able to help facilitate the team's improvement and having experience as captain in the past will be useful this year.
"I am really excited to be elected again as captain," Barrows said. "I feel as though I learned a lot from the past year of being captain, which will hopefully allow me to improve as a captain and leader. I look forward to continuing to help the freshmen on the team develop, and foster a good practice ethic for the team. I think if we do a good job practicing hard and well, our team has a really good chance to achieve some really good results by the end of the year. I think that I am a thoughtful leader. I try not only to lead by example, but I also I try to be as open as possible with everyone and address each teammate's needs."
Barrows, a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands native, came to Yale as one of the highest touted recruits in college sailing. As a junior sailor, he was the 2005 US Sailing Youth Singlehanded Champion in the Laser class. As well, he led the Antilles School to championship titles at the 2006 ICSA Fleet and Team Race Championships. The 2006 graduate was a multi-sport athlete at Antilles. He lettered in soccer and was the team's leading scorer. As well, he played volleyball and basketball at Antilles.
The Bulldog sailors will open their season on Feb. 14-15 at the Mendelblatt Team Race at South Florida.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity