One more boat has claimed its place on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, as Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris have earned their spot in the 49er class.
Though it took a full six days of competition at the 49er World Championships to do so, Barrows and Morris secured their spot as the top-ranked U.S. boat in their class. Quota spots on the U.S. Olympic Team are filled based on results from two major international events for each class. Barrows and Morris finished 13th at the first event, the Sailing World Cup Miami in January, to take a five-point lead over Brad Funk and Trevor Burd and an eight-point lead over Judge Ryan and Hans Henken. Ryan and Henken put up a valiant fight, leading Barrows and Morris in the standings for much of the world championships. But Barrows and Morris’ 23rd-place finish was enough to hold onto their lead in the overall standings, as Ryan and Henken finished 21st but were unable to overcome their previous deficit. Burd and Funk finished 46th.
Barrows and Morris met in 2008 when both were attending Yale University and spent two years as college teammates. In 2009 the pair won the Fowle Trophy, given annually to the top collegiate sailing team. Barrows competed for the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the men’s laser class, but teamed up with Morris, a five-time U.S. national champion, in 2012 to compete in 49er under the U.S. flag. Morris will be competing at his first Olympic Games in Rio.
Barrows and Morris join 49erFX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt as members of the Olympic team. One more boat in the Nacra 17 class will qualify by name at the world championships before the weekend is over.