Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss compete at the 470 World Championships on March 11, 2021 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss grew up sailing in very different environments — Barnes on the warm, clear Caribbean waters of her native St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Dallman-Weiss on the freshwater lakes of Minnesota.
The two have meshed perfectly as skipper and crew sailing in the women’s 470 class, however, and on Friday they were named to the team that will compete for the U.S. at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
It was one year ago that members of the U.S. team, Barnes and Dallman-Weiss included, were in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for the 2020 world championships when the event was canceled amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.
This week they gathered again for the 470 world championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, which began on Monday. The event served as the third and final Olympic qualifier for the three U.S. women’s 470 teams, which were all within points of one another vying for that spot.
Racing concluded on Friday with Barnes, s a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and Dallman-Weiss in seventh place with 97 points. That guaranteed them the best finish among the U.S. teams, earning them a trip to Tokyo over Emma and Carmen Cowles and Atlantic and Nora Brugman.
“We didn’t know about Trials when we crossed the finish line because it was so close, so my feeling was just immense pride in our team and how we sailed the regatta,” Dallman-Weiss told US Sailing. “When we crossed the finish line, our coach wasn’t sure [about the final results] because the racing was so close, so we were crunching numbers and waiting to see if anyone filed a protest. All of the other competitors towed in and the three of us sat out there refreshing the results page waiting to find out. Nikki started bawling and we felt all the emotions. I am just so proud, so grateful — so grateful we even had a worlds, grateful we had the other two teams pushing us, just all-around happy.”
Barnes, who has a Support Allowance Billett from the Coast Guard that allows her to train full-time, and Dallman-Weiss trained for the past year between the U.S. and Lanzarote, Spain, along with men’s and women’s teams from around the world.
Racing continues on Saturday in Portugal with the medal events. Barnes and Dallman-Weiss, otherwise known as Team Perfect Vision, will compete, along with Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, who are currently in sixth place. McNay and Hughes have already locked up the men’s Olympic spot in the 470 class.