AOS alumnae Sophia Solé ‘13 and AnaClare Solé ‘15 are sisters and were both “Lifers” at AOS. Both accomplished sailors, they attribute lessons they learned from attending AOS as part of their success on the water, specifically focusing on doing their best and never giving up. As AnaClare prepares to join Sophia on the sailing team at Stanford University, we caught up with them to learn more about their accomplishments and seek any advice they may have for aspiring sailors.
Who or what had the biggest influence on you during your athletic time at AOS?
Sophia: My 8th-grade sports teams had the biggest influence on me. We had an athletic group of girls in my grade and, in our final year, we won cross country, soccer, and lacrosse HJPC conference championships. We really came together, and everyone did their very best for our teams. Coaches Marti Carr and Tiffany Deinzer led us in this and were great role models for us.
AnaClare: Eleven years of Olympics and competing at lap day to be a torchbearer had the biggest influence on me. A favorite memory of mine is running the relay with the Olympic flame, which was the fire stolen from the gods to make the world better. All my coaches at AOS always encouraged me to do my best and emphasized that, through sports, we can make the world better.
What has sailing taught you?
Sophia: There are no shortcuts in sailing, every small detail from rigging your sail to practicing in all kinds of conditions helps you to be a better sailor. Sailing has also taught me to set clearly defined goals, (i.e. not to win the regatta but to be in the top ten at every start);
these small, measurable goals prevent me from getting overwhelmed and discouraged and help me grow in confidence in myself and in my abilities.
AnaClare: To be really great at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours so it’s a lot of time on the water, but, fortunately, I love being on the water. It’s where I’m happy.
What advice would you give to young sailors at AOS?
Sophia: If you have not tried sailing, you definitely should. The ancient Greeks were the best sailors in the world, and they told stories about their adventures like in The Odyssey (which we performed in 4th grade at AOS). Sailing is a sport you can do your entire life, and it can connect you to people from past and present. I have friends from all over the world thanks to sailing.
AnaClare: Take advantage of being so close to the water - Galveston Bay! We used to go straight from AOS to Houston Yacht Club in LaPorte and sometimes sail in our school uniforms for a few hours before sunset. We would eat dinner and do homework in the car on the way home from the bay!
What is your favorite AOS memory?
Sophia: There are so many - Olympics every year, Chapel Buddies, putting our shoes out on St. Nicholas Day. But a vivid memory I have is the Jones Center playground. We had a trike path that circled a wooden storefront where everyone stopped to refill the “tanks” on their trikes and buy important things like ice cream (scoops of sand) and clover crowns. We paid for our gas with unique rocks and playground bark. If you continue along the road you came to a yellow play house where we all played family. The lessons
we learned on the Jones Center playground at recess that was just as important as the lessons we learned in the classroom.
AnaClare: My sister was at AOS for two years before I started. Every day, when she got dressed for school, I would dress up in one of her AOS uniforms and pretend like I was going with her. When I finally got to go to AOS, I remember the playground, dressing up and playing house, going to chapel with Mrs. Connie Koinis, and having nap time (which I hated). I have a special memory of Ms. Kathy Stratas letting us take off our shoes once during nap time. I remember all of my teachers and coaches- from Ms. Stratas to the 8th grade team - who were encouraging and caring, always ifting you up. I am so glad that I was able to grow up in this loving, positive environment.
Where are they now?
Sophia graduated from Kinkaid in 2017 and is currently at Stanford University where she is on the varsity sailing team and majoring in Management Science and Engineering. AnaClare graduated from Kinkaid in May 2019. She also attends Stanford and joined the sailing team in the fall of 2019. She plans to major in Product Design. Sophia and AnaClare have twin siblings, Charlie and Camille, who graduated from AOS in May 2019 and now attend Kinkaid.
Sophia and AnaClare both learned to sail Optimists on Galveston Bay and traveled to national and international regattas. From Optis, Sophia moved into the Laser Class (a single-handed boat) where she competed for a few years before moving into the International 420 (a double-handed boat) which she sailed with AnaClare. Together they competed in two World Championships (2015 in Japan and 2016 in Italy). They were the top female American team at the 2016 Kieler Woche in Germany, which is the largest sailing event in the world. They also competed in several US Sailing Youth Championships before Sophia graduated to college sailing, and AnaClare began sailing other boats: a 29er skiff and ultimately a Nacra 15, a high-performance catamaran. AnaClare and her partner qualified to represent the USA at the 2018 Sailing Youth Worlds in July 2018 where they placed seventh. Next, they were amongst 100 American Athletes and 4000 International Athletes from over 200 countries to compete in the Youth Summer Olympics in Argentina in October 2018 where they placed sixth. AnaClare is currently making the transition to college sailing, which is organized by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) and is made up of around 300 colleges divided into conferences based on geography.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2019 issue of The Delphian.