One would think Lt. Nicole Auth, USCG, and her teammates in the 5th World Military Games had been sailing together for years when they took the bronze medal in the women’s military sailing competition in July, but in fact, they had just 11 days to prepare for the international event.
The World Military Games, sponsored by the International Military Council, are held every four years. Military athletes, as well as a few Olympic athletes, from around the globe come together for the eight-day competition. A total of 37 sports are represented, including everything from basketball to skydiving to orienteering.
Training took place in Annapolis, Md., where the U.S. sailing team, made up of Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps members, quickly got to know each other and train.
Of their third-place finish, Auth said, “We weren’t expecting to do that, but we were excited to be able to represent the U.S. and the armed forces.”Auth humbly plays down her role in the team’s success, though she has been sailing since high school and had sailed for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Conn., team before graduating in 2004.
Her previous sailing experience came in handy when they arrived in Brazil for the competition and realized they were about to run into another obstacle in addition to the short training period — they would be racing on a boat different from the one they’d used in Annapolis.
“We only had one day to practice on the new boat,” Auth said. “We had to work through some tweaks.”
The women finished behind Brazil and Poland, and the men’s sailing team finished 8th overall.
Navy Capt. Eric Irwin, commanding officer of the Command Leadership School and the U.S. sailing team captain, was grateful to have Auth return as a member of this year’s women’s team.
“I was most proud of the sailing team’s ability to work together, interact with other military teams, and leave a very positive impression of the United States military,” said Irwin. “All were true professionals.”
While Auth admits winning a medal and seeing the U.S. flag raised at the award ceremony was exciting, she says the most rewarding part of the games was making connections with servicemembers from around the world.
“You find a commonality through a sport and realize you have more similarities than differences,” Auth said. “And with the armed forces, you don’t really think of people getting together for sports and having fun and getting to know each other, but it’s just an awesome opportunity to do that.”
Read the full story “District Seventeen’s Lt. Nicole Auth, teammates take bronze at international sailing competition” by Caitlin Goettler, Student Intern U.S. Coast Guard D17 Public Affairs
Photo caption: Left to right: Coast Guard Lt. Elizabeth Tufts, Coast Guard Lt. Nicole Auth, Navy Ensign Emily Frost, and Coast Guard Lt. Krysia Pohl. Not pictured on the team is Marine Corps Maj. Frances Clemens. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III.