Sailor of the Week: May 30 - June 5, 2013
Old Dominion senior Dillon Paiva (Raleigh, N.C.) was named the 2013 recipient of the Robert H. Hobbs Sportsmanship Award during the ICSA awards banquet at St. Petersburg Yacht Club last week in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Robert H. Hobbs Sportsmanship Award is awarded annually to the Sportsman of the Year in college sailing. The trophy honors Robert Hobbs (MIT '64), past Executive Vice President of ICSA, past President of US Sailing (1992-1994), and former chair of the U.S. Sailing Olympic Committee.
Paiva led the Monarchs to a second place finish at the ICSA Coed National Semifinal in April. ODU won the B division on the final day of racing, and Paiva finished fourth as skipper in the A division.
“Although co-hosting an event can be extremely taxing on the home teams, our coach Mitch Brindley made an important point of making sure the team members who were sailing that weekend were completely focused on sailing and not regatta management,” explained Paiva. They went on to finish in 9th place at the National Championships last weekend.
Paiva has been a team leader in training since his freshman year at ODU. “I was lucky enough to travel almost every weekend as a freshman heavy air crew,” said Paiva. “In doing so, I learned a lot about sailing, enough to help boost me from an un-recruited crew, into a skipper later in my career, but more importantly, I learned how to compete. I learned that being part of a team meant, making lunches for my teammates if I was on shore, helping to rig and de-rig our boats, the daily routine of regattas, but most importantly, how to help the team from a mental standpoint. Giving positive encouragement to my teammates who needed it and space to those who wanted it. I may have learned more that year than I ever will in my entire life.”
Paiva was elected team captain for both his junior and senior seasons. This was a role that Paiva took great pride in. He wanted to be an accessible resource to his teammates and serve as liaison between the coaches and the team. Paiva served as a tutor for the ODU athletic department for two years and was able to provide academic support to his teammates.
Paiva qualified for the US Sailing Olympic Development team in 2012, which provided him a special opportunity to train for five days in Colorado Springs, Colo. with the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, as well as a few Navy Seal guests. Prior to this experience, Paiva indicated his goal of being an Olympian in the Men’s 470 was the ultimate goal. “That experience opened my eyes and made me hungry for more. Just making it to the Olympics was no longer enough. I wanted to bring home a gold medal with the stars and stripes draped across my shoulders. And I still want it,” stated Paiva.
Interestingly, Paiva did not grow up in a family of sailors, but instead, a family of accomplished soccer players. Paiva realized at a young age that soccer was not his sport and that he would need to find his calling. This finally happened in the summer between the eighth and ninth grade when his neighbor took him sailing. He enjoyed the experience so much, that he took sailing lessons at Lake Crabtree County Park in Raleigh. He moved through beginner, intermediate and advanced classes before joining the high school team in the fall of his freshman year at Leesville Road High School.
Paiva hit a positive turning point in his early racing career during the summer before his senior year when he won the Area D Qualifier for the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship.
Paiva has aspirations of being a professional sailing coach someday. He is also a certified US Sailing Small Boat Instructor. “I taught my mom how to sail and she is now an avid sailor, racing her Sunfish as often as possible.”
Learn more about Dillon Paiva.