SAILING: Myers on course for success

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Sarasotan will attend Cornell this year while she continues to compete around the world

Bound for Japan in July to compete in the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship, and Ithaca, N.Y., in August to attend Cornell University, Lillian Myers is right on course to continue her success as a scholar-athlete.

But if she ever decides to change course, Myers could teach us all plenty about proper time management.

Myers spent the past the past three school years commuting every other week between Riverview High and the Gulf Coast Youth Sailing Association in Houston. She graduated last spring from the school’s International Baccalaureate Program with a grade point average of 4.875, despite missing 35 days of her senior year due to her hectic schedule.

“When I travel, I really have to prioritize things,” Myers said in a telephone interview from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Francisco. “I am an organized person. I make lists to make sure I do what must be done. I believe in the proper preparation.

“You have to stay focused. You also need time to recuperate.”

Myers finished fourth at the 2018 U.S. Sailing Youth Championships in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and also claimed fifth place at the 2018 International Laser Class Youth World Championships in Kiel, Germany. She was named Young Woman Sailor of the Year by the Florida Women’s Sailing Association in June 2018.

Myers has already raced against some of the world’s best, including her idol, Olympic gold medalist Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands. The top competition makes her want to reach the pinnacle of the sport even more.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling in every sport when younger athletes get to compete against people they look up to,” Myers said.

Myers looks forward to the competition she will face in Sakaiminato City, Japan, like top Americans Paige Railey of Clearwater and Erika Reineke of Fort Lauderdale, as well as the rest of the world’s best.

“Sailing is their job,” she said. “That is literally my goal. But that will be after Cornell.”

Myers figures her best shot at a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team will be in 2028, when the Summer Games are held in Los Angeles.

“The 2020 Olympics (in Tokyo) will be about Paige and Erika,” she said. “Ideally, I want to peak in 2028. I will keep 2024 (in Paris) in mind. But that’s awfully close to graduating from Cornell in 2023.”

In the meantime, Myers will grab every opportunity she can in an effort to make her Olympic and professional dreams a reality.

“It’s like no other sport,” Myers said. “You need so many different qualities to be successful.

“If it’s windy, it’s all about strength. If it’s a light wind, then it’s all about patience and grace.

“In both conditions, it’s all about strategy and tactics. It’s boat-on-boat. You have to be insanely fit.”

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