By Sabrina Carroll
Student Life Editor
Washington College is extremely lucky to have previous students give back to the WC community as professors and coaches. J. Conner Blouin, Class of 2010, has returned to campus as a sailing coach. He is taking the waves by storm at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in July.
The Pan Am Games are similar to the Olympics that include sailing but are only open to North, Central, and South America. However, some disciplines change to include sports that are popular in these areas, like baseball and sailing.
“Competing in this event is something I have worked for about three years,” said Blouin. “In a lot of ways, it is a dream come true to represent the US and WC. It is very emotional for me for a lot of reasons, but I feel very lucky that I have this opportunity.”
Like many current students, Blouin was not entirely sure of what he wanted to do after graduation. He said, “I kept sailing seriously after college, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for this position. I would say that sailing is my greatest passion and when the opportunity came to me it was a perfect fit.”
Coaching has not been an entirely easy feat for Blouin, but he has really enjoyed it so far since he began coaching in 2010. “As always, when you walk into a program after someone else, changing the culture of the sailing team is very difficult,” he said. “However, it is extremely rewarding when you are able to make that change with a group of young athletes. It is also rewarding to share past experiences and knowledge with the new generations of WC sailing.”
WC was the perfect place for Blouin to gain the knowledge he now passes on to students. “I got passed up by a lot of college teams during the recruiting process, and WC gave me an opportunity to prove my value as an athlete and as a student,” he said. “Life after college isn’t always easy, and you need to have the ability to compete. When you lose, you can’t make excuses for yourself. You have to prepare yourself to get better and move onto the next event or challenge.”
Blouin feels being a part of the WC sailing team is both special and humbling. He said, “I think the sailing team is special for a lot of reasons. Some are very personal. As it relates to WC, sailing doesn’t have divisions like the majority of other sports at this school. Thus, when you are at the big events, you are always competing against the best sailors in the country. It is a humbling experience at times.”