Up-and-coming sailor McKeeman confident over her own Olympic future
RISING sailor Sophie McKeeman might not have been anywhere near the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta podium last month, but she insists the chance to test her skills against the world's best was too good an opportunity to turn down.
EXPERIENCE: Sophie McKeeman pictured in action at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth
At just 19, McKeeman headed to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - the London 2012 sailing venue - never expecting to come away with a medal in the Laser Radial competition.
However, all was not lost on McKeeman as she shared the Olympic waters with those sailors going for gold at London 2012 later this summer - notably compatriot Alison Young who took gold.
And it was this chance to rub shoulders with her seniors that proves to McKeeman that her trip to the south coast was far from a wasted journey.
"The week was all about getting experience rather than aiming for a particular place in the final standings," she said.
"So for that reason I was happy with how the regatta went because I went to experience what it was like and to learn a few things and I did that.
"I'm in a training group for the Olympic Development Squad at the moment so I know that I am only just starting out and that I have a lot to learn still.
"It was great to get out on the water against the top girls. I've had a bit of experience against them but I need to get more practice with them.
"It is difficult though at the moment as I am at university so I don't have much time to get out sailing it was a great opportunity to do that."
McKeeman could only watch as Olympic-bound Brit Young romped to gold - her first-ever ISAF World Cup win, Sail for Gold doubling up as the event.
But after getting up close and personal with her peers, McKeeman couldn't help but let her mind wander to her own Olympic adventure.
"Being in Weymouth, just a couple of months before the Olympics and with all the best sailors does get you thinking and obviously I would love top be at a Games in the future," she added.
‘The 2016 Games is perhaps a bit too close but maybe 2020 will be my year. That is the plan anyway and I just hope I can achieve it."
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com
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