Fremantle-born Carrie Smith took up sailing at just two-years-old after her father, and his family, introduced her to the sport. She started in the sabre and other junior categories before moving onto the 420 and then finally the 470. One of her main rivals in the 420 class in Australia, Jaime Ryan, will be alongside her as the pair make their Olympic debut as the crew of the 470 women’s class at Rio.
It’s been a rollercoaster two years for Carrie, who was rushed to hospital with complications from stomach surgery in 2014, one of four operations she endured in the year, before being forced to take around six months off from the sport with Smith and Ryan focusing on dry land and theory training.
The pair, coached by Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist Nathan Wilmot, finished the 2015 World Championships regatta in ninth to secure a quota spot for Australia for Rio 2016. More recently the duo was placed 5th at the Sailing World Cup in Weymouth.
Carrie made her Australian debut at the ISAF Youth Worlds 2011 in the 420 class. In 2012 she won Silver and in 2013 she won Gold with crew Ella Clark. Carrie counts gold medal winning Australian 470 women’s pair at the Beijing 2008 Games Tess Parkinson and Elise Rechichi as her inspiration in the sport.
It is believed Carrie follows strict superstitions and always wears the same bathers at regattas!
Follow Carrie & Jaime’s progress via their Facebook page – C & J Road to Rio:
Good luck in Rio, Carrie & Jaime.