Teenage sailing duo plotting course for Olympic success
by Ali Lowe, Manly Daily
Life is quite literally plain sailing for two Pittwater teenagers.
Natasha Bryant, 16, and Annie Wilmot, 18, were named joint Female Sailor of the Year at the recent Australian Sailing Awards, which celebrated the performances of Australian sailors over a diverse range of categories.
The women — who train out of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Newport with their coach Traks Gordon — also hold the title of world youth champions and Australian, New Zealand and German national women’s champions in the 29er class.
The duo recently decided to forfeit their opportunity to defend their world youth championship later this year to focus on their ultimate goal — representing Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The decision required them to switch equipment to the Olympic women’s 49er FX high performance skiff, training within the Australian Sailing Squad.
Bryant and Wilmot — who have been mentored by Olympic silver medallist and Manly resident Lisa Darmanin over the past three years as they balance study and lifestyle with elite sports campaigning — train four days a week.
“It’s a busy life balancing racing, training, school, gym and occasionally time with friends, but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Bryant, who is set to go in to Year 12 at Mater Maria Catholic College in Warriewood next year.
“We love what we do and we know where we want to end up,” she said. “Best of all I get to do this with my best friend.”