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  • Dana Olson

At 17, Tristan McDonald Looks to Make U.S. Olympic Sailing Team

By Dana Olson Tristan McDonald, a rising star in the sailing world and a member of Lake Forest Sailing, is gearing up for the U.S. Sailing Olympic Trials in Miami Feb. 15-24 in the ILCA 7 class. At just 17, McDonald will be the youngest competitor vying for a spot on the Olympic team. “Tristan's journey to the Olympic Trials has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Lake Forest Sailing Supervisor and Head Coach Will Howard. “His impressive performances at National Regattas over the past year have earned him a well-deserved spot in this prestigious event.”

Tristan McDonald has notched many achievements with Lake Forest Sailing. Photo courtesy of Simone Staff.

Among McDonald’s other notable achievements are a second-place finish at the 2024 Lauderdale Olympic Class Regatta, a first-place finish in the U19 category at the ILCA North American Championships 2023, and another first-place triumph at the 2023 ILCA 7 Great Lakes Championships. In addition to his success in the ILCA 7 class, McDonald is also making waves on the Grand Prix J70 Circuit, where he competes with Lake Forest Sailing's GromSquad. His leadership as a helmsman propelled the team to the 2023 US Sailing Smythe Finals in the RS21 sailboat. McDonald also showcased his versatility as a trimmer for the Lake Forest High School team, helping them secure a commendable second-place finish at the 2023 High School Keelboat National Championship. McDonald is one of the Lake Forest High School Sailing Team’s top skippers. “I’m excited at the opportunity to represent Lake Forest Sailing and the Lake Forest community at the Olympic Trials,” said McDonald. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity, made possible in part by the support I’ve received over the years from Lake Forest Sailing and the unique training grounds of Lake Michigan.”

Tristan McDonald will be vying to represent the United States at the Paris Olympics this summer.

As McDonald embarks on this next chapter of his sailing career, Lake Forest Sailing invites the Lake Forest community to rally behind him and show their support. Follow his journey and track his progress online once the racing begins at 




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