Andrew Lewis had a tough day in the water on his Olympic debut, on the Weymouth Bay South course, here in Dorset, England, yesterday.
Competing in the men's Laser class, the Trinidad and Tobago sailor is 45th in a field of 49 after the first two races.
Lewis became the sixth member of an elite club of T&T sailors who have appeared at the Olympics. He joined the Barrow brothers, Rawle and Cordell (1964), Richard Bennett and David Farfan (1972), and Jean-Marc Holder (1984). Bennett also competed at the 1960 Games as part of a British West Indies team.
But while his place in history is not lost on Lewis, the young sailor is not satisfied with mere Olympic qualification. He wants more.
"I'm trying to target the top 25," Lewis told the Express, after yesterday's second race, "and right now I'm very far off of that, but that's only two races out of ten. We have a whole different race course tomorrow (today), and it's going to be a whole different kind of sailing. Being 45th is not where I want to be. I have a lot of work to do."
In the opening race, Lewis finished 46th. He improved by three places in race two, copping 43rd spot for a two-race total of 89 points (the higher the total, the lower the placing).
On his second shot at conquering the Weymouth Bay South course, the 22-year-old T&T sailor fought his way to 37th, but lost ground in the second half of the race.
"Today was a really, really tough day for me on the water. I had an excellent start in the first race, and then I made a huge tactical error. But I managed to stay with the fleet. It could have been worse.
"In the second race," he continued, "I had a pretty good start. But I was feeling a bit tired out there. I wasn't getting the energy I had yesterday (Sunday), in the practice race. I fought till the end, though, and had a better race than I had in the first race. I fought hard. It wasn't a very good day for me, but the Olympics is where the best of the best are, and I'm in it…"
Lewis was not yet born when T&T last had representation in an Olympic sailing event, Holder finishing 20th in the Finn class at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, USA.
Lewis said he plans to make Olympic participation a habit.
"I'm not here to do one Olympics. I want to do at least three Olympics in my life, hopefully four. So being here is not just to play around. I set a goal for myself, the top 25, and I'm not making it right now, so I'm not very happy. But I'm definitely not going to give up.
"I'm very glad," Lewis continued, "and very grateful to be here in this level of competition. I worked really hard to get here."
The cold winds that penetrated my two layers of clothing on the upper deck of a media boat, yesterday, made it clear that sailing in Weymouth Bay South was no comfortable experience.
Lewis, though, did not make the conditions an issue.
"Yesterday (Sunday), I sailed in the same conditions in the practice race, and did a lot better. I couldn't get the boat going, so there was a lot of frustration. But I tried to channel that frustration into positive energy, and it did help in the second race."
Also on the media boat yesterday was Guatemalan journalist Fernando Lopez. The Prensa Libre writer was a very happy man. The Guatemalan sailor, Juan Ignacio Maegli is second after two races, with 11 points, after finishing first in the opening race and 10th in race two. Third-placed Tonci Stipanovic, of Croatia, also has 11 points.
Australia's five-time world champion, Tom Slingsby, leads the field with three points, after a runner-up finish in the opener and victory in the second race.
The 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Briton Paul Goodison, is 17th with 33 points.
Races three and four in the men's Laser class event will be contested today, starting at 9 a.m. (T&T time) and 10.30 a.m., respectively.
Lewis is hoping his second day on the water at Weymouth and Portland, here in Dorset, will be a big improvement on his first.
"That tactical mistake I made, I definitely can't make those kinds of mistakes again. I went to the wrong side of the course when I was doing really well. I need to have my eyes more open, have more of a trust in myself, and don't let any nervousness or second thoughts get to me—sail more on my instinct. I've been doing it for many years now."
George Bovell has been swimming for many years. He made his Olympic debut as a 17-year-old at the 2000 Games, in Sydney, Australia, and is hoping to claim his second Olympic medal at the 2012 London Games.
The 2004 men's 200 metres individual medley bronze medallist is targeting precious metal in the 50 free in London. He got his feet wet in Sunday's 100m backstroke event, finishing first in his heat and 29th overall in 55.22 seconds—a new national record.
Bovell will be back in the Aquatics Centre pool at 5.08 this morning (T&T time), swimming in heat four in the 100m freestyle. Of the 60 men in the field, the T&T swimmer has the 37th fastest qualifying time—49.94 seconds.
Also on show today will be T&T boxer Carlos Suarez. He squares off against Turkey's Ferhat Pehlivan, at the ExCel South Arena 2, in a men's light flyweight first round bout.
MEDAL Table (After Day 3)
Rank Team Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 9 5 3 17
2 USA 5 7 5 17
3 France 3 1 3 7
4 N Korea 3 0 1 4
5 Italy 2 4 2 8
6 S Korea 2 2 2 6
7 Russia 2 0 3 5
8 Kazakhstan 2 0 0 2
9 Japan 1 4 6 11
10 Australia 1 2 1 4
11 Romania 1 2 0 3
12 Brazil 1 1 1 3
12 Hungary 1 1 1 3
14 Netherlands 1 1 0 2
15 Ukraine 1 0 2 3
DAY 3 MEDALS
Women's 100m Back: 1. USA (Missy Franklin) 2. Australia (Emily Seebohm) 3. Japan (Aya Terakawa)
Men's 200m Free: 1. France (Yannick Agnel) 2. China (Sun Yang), S Korea (Park Taehwan)
Men's 100m Back: 1. USA (Matt Grevers) 2. USA (Nick Thomas) 3. Japan (Ryosuke Irie)
Women's 100m Breast: 1. Ruta Meilutyte 2. USA (Rebecca Soni) 3. Japan (Satomi Suzuki)
Men's Sync 10m Platform: 1. China 2. Mexico 3. USA
Women's Individual Epee: 1. Ukraine (Yana Shemyakina) 2. Germany (Britta Heidemann) 3. China (Sun Yujie)
Men's Team: 1. China 2. Japan 3. Great Britain
Women's 58kg (128 lbs): 1. China (Li Xueying) 2. Thailand (Pimsiri Sirikaew) 3. Ukraine (Yuliya Kalina)
Men's 62kg (137 lbs): 1. N Korea (Kim Un Guk) 2. Colombia (Oscar Figueroa Mosquera) 3. Indonesia (Irawan Eko Yuli)
Men's Lightweight 73kg (161 lbs): 1. Russia (Mansur Isaev) 2. Japan (Riki Nakaya) 3. France (Ugo Legrand), Mongolia (Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal)
Women's Lightweight 57kg (125 lbs): 1. Japan (Kaori Matsumoto) 2. Romania (Corina Caprioriu) 3. France (Automne Pavia), USA (Marti Malloy)
Men's 10m Air Rifle: 1. Romania (Alin George Moldoveanu) 2. Italy (Niccolo Campriani) 3. India (Gagan Narang)