Christine Reimer ’24 qualified for the 2022 Intercollegiate Association Women’s Singlehanded National Championship last week. This will be Reimer’s second trip to the national championship after placing seventh overall last year.
While Reimer is currently excelling at the collegiate sailing level, she has had to overcome a multitude of obstacles in her career. Reimer was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but she spent most of her childhood in Michigan before returning to Brazil at ten years old. Upon her return, Reimer’s parents wanted to get her involved in sailing, but they didn’t immediately succeed.
“In the beginning, I really hated it, but they pushed me,” Reimer said.
Eventually, the sport grew on her. When Reimer was deciding how to continue her sailing career while also receiving a rigorous education, she settled on attending Bowdoin.
“I chose Bowdoin because of the academics; I’m an Earth and Oceanographic Science major, and I really liked Bowdoin’s program. But sailing was also a big part of [the decision],” she said.
In the past, Reimer struggled to find a feeling of team spirit because sailing is mostly an individual sport. At Bowdoin, however, she has found that the sailing team has cultivated a strong sense of community, something she credits Head Coach Frank Pizzo and Assistant Coach Corina Radtke for developing.
“[Our coaches] actually care about us as individuals. There are 30 people on the [sailing] team, but I still feel valued as an individual, and they care about me as Christine and not just another member on the team,” Reimer said. “Every time I have a meeting with [Pizzo], he’ll ask me how school is going, my living situation, if I’m struggling or not … I don’t know if that’s just a Bowdoin thing, but I think there’s a good team culture, not just from us teammates but also coming from the coaches.”
Despite the extensive support system of Bowdoin sailing, Reimer finds sailing in Brunswick to be very different from what she experienced back home. She is acclimated to living in warmer climates and a large city, but Brunswick is much colder and smaller, and the format of sailing differs depending on the region.
“The type of sailing [back home] was different. In Brazil, we [have] longer race courses, they last longer; each race is an hour long,” Reimer said. “Here, each race is 25 minutes long, so you do have a lot of adapting to different strategies … and figuring out the new type of sailing.”
Although she has competed in nationals before, Reimer is still slightly nervous for her race.
“I feel like the second time you go to an event like this, there’s always just a little bit more pressure to perform better,” Reimer said. “A big part of sailing is you can’t control the conditions, so I get stressed out a lot [if] it’s gonna be super light [winds or] no wind.”
However, Reimer has learned to deal with her pre-competition nerves, avoid overthinking and prepare to the best of her ability.
“[I’m] focusing as much as I can at practice the next two weeks, going to the gym, sleeping properly [and] getting my work done so I’m not stressing about work that weekend,” Reimer said.
With practices Tuesday through Thursday for the majority of the year and competitions that last all weekend, Reimer, like many other athletes, has been forced to find creative ways to achieve academic success.
“I work in the van and work at night. When I have more time, then I become more of a procrastinator, so [sailing] definitely makes you have to be on top of your [school work],” Reimer said. “I haven’t gotten to a point where I’m struggling with my work, and I feel like that’s what I’m worried about. I don’t have time to get that help. I don’t go to office hours almost ever because they’re all during practice time.”
After her collegiate sailing career comes to an end, Reimer is looking forward to continuing sailing as a hobby.
“You have old people in their seventies that still sail. It’s a sport that really is all-generational,” Reimer said. “I can continue sailing, not super competitively but more as a leisure thing.”
Reimer will compete at nationals in Norfolk, VA on November 5 and 6.