The 2016 Senior Perspectives is the 11th in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of teams at Harvard have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Harvard.
For a complete listing of 2016 Senior Perspectives, click here.
Sydney Karnovsky, Women's Sailing, Team Co-Captain
Hometown: Brookline, Mass.
Concentration: Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology
House Affiliation: Currier
I cannot imagine what the last four years would have been like if I had I not been a member of the Harvard sailing team. I still remember my very first practice with extreme clarity. Assigned to sail with a junior who was a starter, I was both intimidated and excited to begin my career as a collegiate athlete. I could not wait to get on the water. However, it was not long into that first practice that we realized our boat was leaking and we had to pull up on MIT’s dock and spend a good chunk of practice draining and fixing the boat. At the time I was afraid that this was a bad omen for what was to come over the next four years. I could not have been more wrong.
I have had the privilege to be a part of a team that grew from an inexperienced and nervous group of mostly freshmen and sophomores to the older, wiser, and more talented unit that we are now. After a disappointing end to the season freshman year, when we did not qualify for nationals, our coach told us that we did not have seniors to rely on to carry the team and that if we wanted to make nationals the next year, it was time for all of us to step up. Coming together as a stronger and more cohesive team over the past three years has been incredibly exhilarating. From watching my teammates qualify for nationals on a tiebreaker sophomore year to sailing all of nationals and even winning a race last year, we have definitely come a long way. The early morning lifts, freezing practices in the snow, and endless weekends of competitions have definitely made their mark. This year we won’t just be fighting to qualify for nationals, but we are training and preparing for the end of the season with the goal of winning nationals.
As much as I have valued my numerous hours on the water, what I will miss most about Harvard sailing is my teammates. Being an athlete at Harvard provides you with a family at school from the moment you walk onto campus freshman year. I have spent almost every weekend of college travelling and competing with the same group of people and I feel like I know them as well as I know my own brother. While I certainly won’t forget the thrill of winning a race or even a whole regatta, it is the numerous moments with my teammates that are truly unforgettable. From the late night monopoly game in the hotel at Yale during sophomore postseason, to the endless prank war against other New England teams, to our first warm spring break this year, I will never be able to replace the role my teammates have had in making me love my college experience. As we approach the New England Championships this spring, I could not be more excited to represent the team I love with my favorite group of people at school! HSKA!