“I have had to do a lot of regattas internationally to get where I am and to qualify for the Olympics, and the conditions are always different from Cayman’s waters. But Rio will be the most challenging yet.”
Florence Allan, 2016 Minds Inspired William A. Dart Scholar, is pursuing her dreams at the Olympics Games in Rio this summer in advance of attending the University of Exeter this fall to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) on her Minds Inspired university scholarship. All this at the tender age of 18.
Having attended summer camps at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club since she was seven, Florence has developed a passion for the sport, turning her Olympic dreams into reality with the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She trains six days a week throughout Cayman’s seas, but often using the Camana Bay Harbour on windy days. Florence is a dedicated member of the Cayman Islands National Sailing Team, where she acts as Team Captain; as a result, she has pursued a campaign for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she will represent the Cayman Islands. Her passion for the sport is evident in her selection of university; she chose a school close to Weymouth – the centre of sailing in England – and is already planning on another campaign for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Preparing for the Olympics is no small feat and sailing is very physically demanding. “I don’t think people realise how physically demanding it is to sail – there is a perception that the boat does all the work – but it actually is.”
Florence does a lot of prep work in the gym, both with personal training and as a CrossFit member, to ensure a full-body workout that focuses on all the key muscle groups, from squats to push-ups and core work. She travelled to Rio three weeks ago for a training trip to familiarise herself with the conditions.
Having competed internationally before, Florence is no stranger to acclimatising to new surroundings, but Rio will present the toughest challenge yet. “There is so much going on, such as the current – we don’t have as much here so I’m not used to factoring that into my tactics.” By her side since the beginning is her coach Raph Harvey. “It’s really cool to go with him to the Olympics. He’s been there since the start,” she said.
Having recently completed her studies at Cayman Prep and High School, Florence is focused on all things sailing until her move to England in the fall. Excited for the challenge of pursuing new studies and continuing her sailing training in an entirely new environment, Florence has much to look forward to, but right now she is remaining focused on one thing and one thing only: the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Don’t miss a moment of the action with The Games at Camana Bay – a series of Olympic-inspired festivities and live event showings.