Terry Swift enjoying sailing notoriety, success
By By James Crawford
Living in Atmore and being so close to the beach, many residents are familiar with the sea. As a member of the Pensacola Yacht Club and a member of several trophy winning yachting teams, Terri Swift spends so much time on the ocean she feels as much at home on the water as the land.
Swift has competed in numerous competitions year round, both along the Gulf Coast and nationally with U.S. Women's Sailing. She recently returned from San Francisco, Calif., where she competed in the five-day final competition of the U.S. Women's Sailing Adams Cup Championship Regatta Oct. 5-9. The competition was hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club.
Along the way to the finals in California, Swift and her team won the quarterfinals in Mobile, then advanced to the semifinals in Miami where her boat won the Area D Championship.
Swift, a nine-year resident of Atmore, competed for the first time in the Women's Adams Cup finals alongside teammates Micki Gramm, of Gulf Shores, Betsy Whitehurst, of Pensacola, Amanda Carpenter of Mobile and alternate Sara Hall, of Mobile. The group sailed the Berkeley Circle, a route that consisted of a trip around San Francisco Bay.
"The venue was incredible. We sailed between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge," Swift said. "The currents change there so quickly, especially around Alcatraz. Sea lions would pop up next to our boat and we saw porpoises next to the bay."
"I normally sail around 20 knots out of Pensacola. But the current and breeze was tremendous in San Francisco. It drove the speeds close to 31 knots and it became a survival game for us. I don't know how they keep their boats together. We also had to learn a new boat along the way, and three of the women we competed against are in Olympic competition now. But, it was a lot of fun."
The Women's Adams Cup isn't Swift's first success this summer, though. She was skipper of the team that took the Lady's National Championship in Pensacola in July.
"That win was a big deal for us. They rotate the location of those competitions to make it fair for everyone. This was the first time it had been this close in six years. It was a very big deal for us," Swift said.
Swift, who sails out of Pensacola with the Pensacola Yacht Club, has been sailing for 15 years. She got her start in Panama City when she and her husband lived there. A friend convinced her to give it a try and the sea got in her blood.
Swift started out sailing flying Scots, a normal three-person boat, but has had experience in larger boats such as the J-24. For more information about sailing or for complete results of the U.S. Women's Sailing Adams Cup Regatta visit www.ussailing.org.