Sailor Spotlight: Teddy McKenzie
Teddy McKenzie is one of the top Opti sailors on Barnegat Bay. The second of four kids, Teddy was thrust into sailing early and learned by watching older brother, Charlie, compete at a high level. Now it's Teddy's turn. "Practice, practice, practice" is his mantra, and with a philosophy like that, it's no wonder that Teddy is climbing the ranks and representing the United States in international competition.
Name: Teddy McKenzie
School: Tredyffrin/Eastown Middle School
Yacht Club: Mantoloking Yacht Club
1) Teddy, you are one of the top Opti sailors in our area. Tell me a bit about yourself and what you've done to become such a good sailor.
Practice, practice, practice. I learned from my older brother, Charlie, to practice as much as I can and sail in as many events as I can. I try to make the most out of every practice. My parents have been really great about bringing me everywhere to sail and have been very supportive. I was ready to sail regattas at a young age because I saw Charlie doing it and I wanted to do what he was doing.
2) Recently you represented Team USA at the Topsport Vlaanderen Regatta in Belgium. How did you qualify for this event? Was this your first time representing your country at an international event?
I qualified at the Team Trials at Key Biscayne, FL in April. This was my first international regatta, and I was so excited to represent the US. I hope to make more international regattas!
3) Tell me about the regatta in Belgium. How did you do? What were the conditions like? What was your favorite part of the event?
The regatta in Belgium was an amazing experience. The conditions were very windy with huge swells. At times I couldn’t even see the mark when I was at the bottom of the wave. I have never experienced the kind of sailing conditions we had there so I learned a lot just by being there. I’m proud of myself for making gold fleet and hope to place even better next time. My favorite part of the event was meeting and hanging out with the other US team members and meeting sailors from other countries.
4) Why do you think it's so important to get experience racing internationally and against foreign competition? How does a regatta like this compare to a regatta on Barnegat Bay?
The conditions on the North Sea were a lot different than Barnagat Bay. I think is important to learn how to sail in many different kinds of conditions. I thought the foreign competition would be tougher but the US Sailors did well against them. Also, with so many countries sailing in the regatta, it was cool to hear different languages on the race course - not everyone spoke the same sailing language - but everyone did speak English to us on the water.
5) What's your plan for this summer? Who will be coaching you and what's on the schedule?
I am so lucky to have an awesome coach, Diego Perea, for the summer. His training is different than any other coach I’ve had, and I’m learning a ton. We are going to Nationals in Pensacola, CORK in Canada and NJ States. When we’re not training hard, Diego takes us to do fun things. It’s a great mix of working hard and having fun.