New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athlete Evie Haseldine’s outstanding potential has been recognised through her nomination as the 2023 Youth Sailor of the Year at next month’s Australian Sailing Awards.

Hazeldine, 20, will join the other finalists at the Awards night at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour. It’s tremendous recognition after seizing the bronze medal at the World Sailing Championships in the Netherlands two months ago.

The effervescent Hazeldine (pictured left) and Olivia Price secured the prized medal – and a quota spot for Australia in the 49er FX class at next year’s Paris Olympic Games – when they finished the championships in third place . . . the best performance by any Aussie crew in that category.

Price, 31, who ignited the then 12-year-old Haseldine’s Olympic dream when she went to the Drummoyne Sailing Club to show the junior sailors the silver medal she won at the 2012 London Olympic Games, credited Haseldine for inspiring her to come out of retirement for another Olympic assault.

“I stopped sailing for about five years [but returned] once we had that conversation [about sailing together] 18 months ago,” said Price in a recent interview, and whose father sailed with Haseldine’s dad on 16ft Skiffs for Drummoyne.

“What really sparked my interest was Evie’s dedication, her enthusiasm for the sport, and doing whatever was required.

“She was still quite young and didn’t quite know what it was going to take. But for me, I was just laughing. I’m attached on to her enthusiasm and thought, ‘okay, well, maybe this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for in finding someone that is so similar in the way that we communicate and are dedicated to the process and what is required to be done’.”

Haseldine, who represented Australia at the 2018 Youth Olympics at Buenos Aires, said she and Price – who has known since Evie was a newborn baby – have a unique understanding that’s helped them shine on the water.

“A training session is a lot of expenditure of energy, and it’s also a lot of mental energy,” said Haseldine. “The thing we have in sailing is there’s so many variables, you know, the wind, your boat, the set up . . .  we really need to try and control the controllables because there’s too many variables to try and control.

“And so, the first thing to be able to achieve that communication [that’s required] is to be talking to each other on a logical level. As soon as we start to talk to each other emotionally, that’s it, we’re not solving problems anymore. And the training session must be used very effectively and efficiently.”

Despite her rapid ascent Haseldine isn’t taking her success for granted, saying she’ll continue to work hard to ensure she and Price compete in Paris.

“I’m in such a fantastic position and have such a unique opportunity to be at an Olympic Games possibly two years after stepping on the boat,” she said. “I don’t want to let this go to waste.”

 Daniel Lane, NSWIS

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