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Sailing for America
Washington College Sailing Coach Conner Blouin ’10 earns a trip to the Pan Am Games with his top American finish at the Sunfish national championship.
Washington College’s head sailing coach, Conner Blouin ’10, will represent the United States at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, after finishing second at the Sunfish U.S. National Championships.
Only one U.S. sailor qualifies for the Sunfish class at the Pan Am Games in July.
During the three-day qualifying regatta in Melbourne, Florida, in March, Blouin’s finishes of 3-1-5-5-20-1-4 earned him second place among the 71 sailors. With one throw-out (his 20th-placefinish), he earned a total of 19 points, six behind first-place finisher Jonathan Martinetti of Ecuador, a former Sunfish World Champion. The next American finisher was David Mendelblatt in fifth overall.
“I thought I had a great shot,” Blouin says. “I had done the Sunfish World Championship in October and I finished third, and that was going to be the real test to see if I had a shot.”
Blouin says he was most pleased with the result because the regatta had some light-air days, and in the past he’s had difficulty beating Mendelblatt in those less windy conditions. “I’ve been sailing against him since I was 16, and I’m finally getting up to his level,” he says.
Blouin will travel to Toronto to represent the U.S. among the 12 countries from North, South, and Central America that compete in the Pan Am Games, which, like the Olympics, happen every four years. The Pan Am Games include some sports and divisions not in the Olympics, such as the Sunfish class of sailboats, which is heavily campaigned in the Pan Am countries.
Blouin returned to WAC as head coach of the sailing team in 2013. While sailing at Washington College, Blouin was a two-year team captain, three-time team Most Valuable Sailor, two-time All-America honorable mention skipper, two-time All-MAISA selection, and 2010 first-team Academic All-American. At the end of his senior year, he became the second student-athlete in school history to win both the College’s Senior Athletic Award, given to the top senior athlete, and the Alfred Reddish Award, given to the senior male athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average. He finished his collegiate sailing career with a school-record 12 career divisional first-place finishes.
Since then he has continued to compete on a national and world level. His top finishes include second in the 2011 International Laser Class Association (ILCA) Grand Prix, Laser Radial; a bronze medal in the 2011 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta, Laser Radial; a fourth-place finish in the 2011 Laser Radial North Americans, and a fifth-place finish at the 2010 Sunfish World Championship in Italy. He was the third-highest finishing American in the 2011 Laser Radial North Americans, qualifying him for the 2012 Laser Radial Open World Championship.
An economics major and philosophy minor while a student at WAC, Blouin graduated magna cum laude and earned induction into Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.