Fast-finishing Aussies ‘on the up’ towards Paris 2024

The ILCA 6 World Championships concluded in Oman overnight with two Australians finishing in the top 15.

Tokyo Olympian Mara Stransky finished sixth overall and made it clear that she has the skills and determination to make her mark at the 2024 Olympic Games after finishing 14th in Tokyo earlier this year.

Mara pulling on mainsheet while passing marker.
Mara Stransky. Pic – Lloyd Images / Oman Sail

Western Australian Zoe Thomson showed a positive trajectory and plenty of promise in her results across the week. Thomson finished the regatta on a high, placing fifth in the final race and solidifying her 13th place in the overall rankings.

Two races were completed on the final day in enjoyable yet challenging conditions, “Initially the breeze was super soft and patchy but it filled in pretty nicely throughout the racing,” Thomson shared.

“Sailing with the international fleet highlighted the importance of getting off the line clean and prioritising the first shift. As a squad I think we gained so much through this trip, and we are super keen to get back to work throughout the Australian summer.”

Zoe sailing downwind.
Zoe Thomson. Pic – Sander van der Borch / Lloyd Images / Oman Sail

Australian Sailing Technical Director Michael Blackburn commented, “I’m really happy with the progress Mara and Zoe have shown over the past 18 months since the 2020 worlds, where they were 18th and 24th respectively. This is off the back of limited racing in a fleet which is dominated by Europeans who have had far easier access to international competition.”

The Olympic Gold Medal winning coach continued, “It’s a great testament to Mara & Zoe’s drive and determination towards a great result in Marseille at the 2024 Olympics.

“Special mention to coach Rafa Trujillo for stepping up to the ILCA class, coaching two top six results at two World Championships within a couple of weeks,” Blackburn concluded.  

Trujillo was pleased with how the squad improved throughout the week and that Stransky and Thomson got away to good starts today, which was reflected in their results.

Going forward he observed, “They need improve their daily priorities with wind strength and fleet size to help build consistency, and most of all they need to get off the start line. Considering their poor starts over the week this was an amazing performance.”

Casey Imeneo smiling on shore.
Casey Imeneo. Pic – Lloyd Images / Oman Sail

Although it was not their regatta, squad members Elyse Ainsworth and Casey Imeneo have also been working hard over an extended tour in Europe and Oman.

After a promising start to the regatta Ainsworth finished in 31st overall. “My biggest challenge this week was myself, unfortunately I let my thoughts get the best of me,” Ainsworth shared.

With raw emotion Ainsworth showed her commitment to her squad, “It was tough lesson and although I’m upset I didn’t achieve my best, I’m very proud of our squad’s improvements and results this week. I see good things coming for our squad this quad.”

The Australian ILCA 6 athletes will head back to Australia for the summer as they gear up for a big 2022 season. There is no doubt they have a common mission towards achieving greatness at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

View the full results here:

Australian Sailing Team (AST),  Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and other Australian (AUS) entries:

Laser Radial (63 Boats):

6th Mara Stransky (AST) 12, (33), 11, 6, 13, (47), 21, 9, 1, 10, 4 – 87 pts

13th Zoe Thomson (ASS) (26), 18, 17, 9, (33), 17, 22, 16, 16, 24, 5 – 144 pts

31st Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) 22, 3, 19, 12, (50), 30, 33, 41, 33, (61), 45 – 239 pts

42nd Paige Caldecoat (AUS) (49), 34, 35, (BFD), 22, 29, 47, 47, 27, 35, 20 – 296 pts

44th Evie Saunders (AUS) 53, 26, 40, 18, 47, (54), 35, 7, (BFD), 49, 31 –306 pts

56th Casey Imeneo (ASS) 39, (56), 43, 41, 42, (59), 56, 43, 25, 42, 25 – 356 pts

By Lisa Darmanin

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