One-on-One with Hunter Johnstone '16

by Jehanna Axelrod | 8/13/15 6:24pm

Hunter Johnstone ’16 is the co-captain of the Dartmouth sailing team. Just last month, Johnstone was selected for the Intercollegiate Sailing Association 2015 All-Academic Team.

The Dartmouth sat down with Johnstone to get a glimpse into the sailing team’s busy schedule and two-term season.

How and when did you start sailing?

HJ: I started sailing at seven years old at my local sailing program, which is in the city of Lake Forest, [Illinois], and I started liking it soon after.

How do you stay in sailing shape over the summer?

HJ: Basically we just have a sailing fitness program that we are recommended to follow over the summer, which includes lifting and running. And then sailing is something that you can do recreationally to keep yourself in shape if that’s what you’d like to.

Sailing is a two-season sport (fall and spring), how do you manage athletics and academics for two-thirds of the year?

HJ: Just a lot of forward planning and knowing your schedule in advance, and also being adaptable if things come up and knowing how to reorganize your time. It definitely took me probably two years to figure out how to schedule my time properly to do well in classes and sailing at the same time, but when it clicked, it’s really rewarding. I usually just get my work done in advanced if I can. I’m someone who doesn’t tend to work as productively over the weekends. Some people are very good at getting their work done during the down time at regattas and making sure they have everything ready by Monday.

You were one of seven Dartmouth sailors selected to the ICSA 2015 All-Academic Team. Why do you think Big Green sailors are able to excel in the classroom and in sports?

HJ: I think that our team is really good at supporting each other on and off the water. We definitely respect one another not only for being good sailors, but also for being good students. We make sure to take care of ourselves academically as well, and that’s paid off.

What’s the difference between the fall and spring seasons? Does the team approach them differently? Do they count differently?

HJ: For the most part, the seasons are very similar, at least until the end. In the spring, you have all the major championships for the year, so that’s when the national championships are. So usually those last three weeks of the season in the spring are considered championship season. There’s probably more team racing, which is where you are competing along side your teammates in the races in the spring.

What is it like being on a coed team that competes in two separate events, women’s and coed sailing?

HJ: I’ve been on a coed sailing team ever since I’ve been on a sailing team — before high school, in high school and in college. It’s just very normal. You learn to have a pretty large and diverse friend group. Actually, Sarah [Williams ’16] is the captain for the women’s team. When it comes to the administration and organization, we treat it as one team. The only time it ever feels separate is when we’re at championship events or just a coed or women’s event. But really the only difference is that you are just rooting for the women’s team, or vice versa. It’s more of a supportive thing between the two teams. But other than that, we’re very together, one unit, and there’s really no division between either team.

As co-captain, what are your goals for the upcoming season?

HJ: To continue building a team that’s supportive of one another and have a desire to win and also the belief that we can. We have a very capable group this year, and we’re certainly capable of winning. We just need to put everything together to see what happens.