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Larchmont Student Sets Sails On Youth Championship

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- On graduation day, Mamaroneck High School senior Abby Rohman will have to trade her cap and gown for a life vest and shades as she sails in the 2012 Keiler Woche in Germany before moving onto Ireland for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in July.

In fact, Rohman, 18, will spend most of the next few months competing all over the world, and all of her other time in training - and doing school work, of course.

Her passion for sailing stems from her summers at Mamaroneck's Beach Point Yacht Club sailing with her two older brothers. Last month, she qualified for the Youth Sailing World Championship in Ireland at a three-day qualifier at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in California in January.

"I have been training for the qualifiers for a long time; we were really focusing on it," Rohman said, of her partner at sea and skipper Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick. "Making Youth World is the most prestigious title in sailing, so it's a really great honor and opportunity."

The Larchmont resident is on crew with her skipper Grapengeter, a junior at a private school in Darien, Conn. Rohman said the ISAF Youth World Championship is "like a mini-Olympics in youth sailing." The ISAF is the governing body for sailing worldwide.

More than 100 sailors from across the country entered the January qualifier. But when Rohman lands in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, she will be one of 400 boys and girls from 60 different countries, all under the age of 19. The Adult World Championship has seven American boats for boys and girls respectively, but the Youth World Championship is only one and one.

"Now that I've qualified, I'm on the US Development team," she said. "We work with the Olympic sailors and the older kids who are also training to be Olympic sailors."

Members of the U.S. Development team are considered future Olympic prospects, but Rohman doesn't think she would be able to sail for the American Olympic team because of her smaller stature. However, she does plan to continue sailing in college and will wear the American flag proudly as she competes in Ireland from July 12 through 21.

"It's a really great feeling to represent the US," she said. "I'm so excited to go there and have the US boat with the US sails."

Rohman enjoys sailing because, she said, it's the hardest thing she's ever done.

"I keep notes, and I read about sailing and I'm in the gym every day," Rohman said. "When it all comes together and you're winning a race, it's just a great feeling to be on top of everything there."

Before graduation, Rohman hopes to be in the senior musical and just enjoy being home before her summer kicks off. But, she won't have much time. Rohman leaves for Florida next Thursday to compete in a Mid-Winter regatta. In May, she will compete in the Wickford Regatta in North Kingstown, RI. Before leaving for college, which she is still deciding on, Rohman will compete in Lake Garda, Italy in the 2012 Junior European Championship from Aug. 9 to 17.

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