Sailor of the Week: October 7-13, 2010
Balancing academic and athletic commitments is a common challenge among collegiate student -athletes around the country. Just ask Alan Palmer, a senior on the Harvard University sailing team. It appears as though Alan has figured out how to exceed at both. Recently, Alan was named to the 2010 Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-Academic First Team.
Alan towed the line in the classroom, while exceeding on the Crimson varsity sailing team. The applied mathematics major posted an impressive 3.87 GPA last spring. Meanwhile, he skippered in the A division at the ICSA Gill/Coed National Championship, leading the Crimson to a third place finish. Harvard finished second overall.
“Balancing time between sailing and academics is definitely one of the toughest parts of college sailing,” Alan said. “I've found it essential to be efficient in getting my work done on time and planning ahead to avoid conflicts with regattas and practice. One very simple piece of advice I do have for other students is to always go to your classes.”
“I find it important to help other sailors in the same way that others have helped me over the years. For instance, I was really able to improve a lot my freshman year with the guidance of my coaches and the upperclassmen on the team. I try my best to help out others not only with sailing, but with any other advice that I would have found helpful.”
The fall college sailing season is fully underway and Alan has set new challenges for himself as a student-athlete. In September, the Harvard coed sailing team captured the Nevins Trophy at Kings Point and the Hood Trophy at Tufts. “We have a great group of seniors who have all worked together over the past three years, so we're having fun and hopefully can continue to do well,” said Alan. “Looking ahead to the spring, we are aiming to qualify for all three national championships, and then finish strongly there.”
“Academically, I am aiming to explore a wider variety of courses this year and try out some other interests that I haven't focused on in previous years,” Alan continued.
The Yarmouth native grew up cruising the coast of Maine with his family, including his older sister, Libby, who sailed at MIT. At the age of nine, his grandfather gave him an optimist, and he started racing at the Portland Yacht Club. “My parents have been really supportive of my sailing all the way through college,” said Alan.
Prior to Harvard, he was the National Junior Doublehanded Champion in 2006. In high school, he was class Valedictorian and a National Merit Scholarship winner.