Anna Tunnicliffe--North American Champion
Nov. 18, 2002
Old Dominion sophomore Anna Tunniclife (Perrysburg, OH) used to hate sailing-that is until she started winning. Now the Old Dominion University skipper is nothing but smiles after capturing her first solo North American Championship in singlehanded racing in Houston, TX last week. After winning two championships in her first two years at Old Dominion, Tunniclife has now grown to love sailing.
"This is a great feeling," said Tunniclife after winning the program's 13th North American championship, ODU's 30th championship overall. "I was more excited than nervous. I was just looking forward to this race against such great competition."
It was not, however, competing against great competition that inspired Tunniclife to be a world-class sailor. In fact, it was just the opposite.
Both Tunniclife's mother and father are avid sailors, and growing up in England, where sailing is very popular, she became frustrated with constantly losing against more experienced and talented sailors. After moving to the United States in 1995, at age 13, her frustration turned to fortune after her first win.
When she entered her first regatta after moving to the States, Tunniclife won convincingly against less experienced sailors. In that contest, Tunnicliffe and her brother, David, finished first and second respectively.
"After that win, I fell in love with sailing," she said. "I hated sailing in England because I never won. When I first moved to the United States, my brother became my biggest competitor."
Now, the sophomore's biggest rivals include sailors from Yale, Harvard, the College of Charleston, and her ODU teammates. Tunniclife became the first Lady Monarch to win a North American Championship in singlehanded competition after accumulating just 69 points over 16 races. In nine of those races she finished either first, second, or third. Teammate Corrie Clement (Metarie, LA) finished fifth in the 16-person competition with 98 points. Both Tunniclife and Clement were part of last year's North American Championship team in Honolulu, HI.
According to Tunniclife, practicing with the best collegiate sailors in the country is great motivation for her success.
"My teammates have been terrific," she said. "They are a great inspiration."