Siblings sail to the Olympics

Molly Meech and Alexandra Maloney

For elite sports it comes down to the small details – and Tauranga’s Sam Meech isn’t leaving anything to chance. He’s even planned what’s for breakfast come race day.  

The 25-year-old will compete in the Laser men’s light-weight dinghy at 2016’s upcoming Rio Olympics, which start August 5 and run to August 21.

He joins his sister Molly Meech and fellow Tauranga sailor Peter Burling in representing the Western Bay of Plenty at Rio.

Sam and Molly talked to The Weekend Sun prior to their trip Brazil. Both say they’re excited about the next few weeks.

Coming through the grades, Sam says there wasn’t the usual sibling rivalry you’d expect of two competitive athletes growing up together.

“Luckily, we’ve only raced against each other a couple of times and I would kind of leave a little earlier so I wouldn’t get beaten by Molly.”

Molly, who is two years younger than her brother, joins Alexandra Maloney in the 49erFX women’s skiff class. She says her brother has always been supportive of her.

“It’s been pretty cool following him through sailing and he’s kind of set a good example through.”

It’s clear to see both sailors like giving each other a little bit of stick but have each other’s backs when it comes down to it.

When asked if they critique their sailing it was Sam who was quickest to the draw.

“I try, but I don’t think it goes down that well, so I try to avoid telling her anything,” Sam laughs.

Molly, like her sailing, was quick to jibe back at her brother. “He’s just lucky we sail very different classes.”

Sam says both siblings have been training hard for race day. He’s even decided on what he will eat on race day, which is August 8.

“I’ve done a lot of regattas now so I have a pretty normal routine. I try and have a coffee before heading down to sail. I’m really into cooking eggs at the moment. Always poached, I usually have two unless the wind is a little stronger; then I’ll have four.”

Both sailors are confident leading into the Olympics and will be doing their best to justify their selection.

“Sailing is a sport where anything can happen on the day but I think it’s the preparation. I think the whole [sailing team] has a really good shot of doing really well,” says Sam.

Molly says both her and sailing partner Alexander can’t wait to get on the water and race on August 8.

“We’ve done quite a lot of hard work these last couple of months and everything has come together. “So we are pretty confident going into the games.”

The New Zealand Olympic team off to Rio includes Western Bay of Plenty athletes Kelly Brazier, Peter Burling, Lisa Carrington, Scott Curry, Mike Dawson, Mahe Drysdale, Gemma Flynn, Luuka Jones, Molly Meech, Sam Meech, and Teddy Stanaway.

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