RWU’s Freund wins Paralympics silver medal
Roger Williams University Class of 2011 architecture grad Hugh Freund won a silver medal for the USA in the Sonar sailing class at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, along with teammates Rick Doerr (helmsman) and Brad Kendell.
The team entered competition as the reigning champs of the 2016 Parasailing World Championships. Although they opened the Paralympics competition with a seventh place finish, they quickly cruised to the top of the competitors’ board taking second and third place in most of the races.
In the final medal race, Freund’s team was first to sail past the finish line, besting Team New Zealand by a tenth of a second. With the U.S. Paralympic sailors earning silver, the Australian team won gold and the Canadian team took home bronze.
“We came into today in a similar position as we had at the World Championship earlier this year, with everything to play for on the final day,” Freund told US Sailing. “We really sailed the way the three of us know how to sail this boat.”
According to Team U.S.A. Parasailing, Freund “was diagnosed with bone cancer, and lost his leg while still a student. During his time attending Roger Williams University, his college head coach, Amanda Callahan, suggested that he pursue Paralympic sailing. Callahan had done an Olympic campaign with Betsy Alison, the U.S. Sailing Team Head Paralympic Coach, and was familiar with the world of adaptive sailing.”
Freund, who grew up in South Freeport, Maine, joins the growing ranks of RWU Olympians. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Cy Thompson ’11 (who also competed in the 2012 London Olympics) finished 19th in the Men’s Laser division, and incoming freshman Maia Agerup captured 14th place in the Women’s 49er FX division.
College sailing rankings
The latest Sailing World college co-ed dinghy rankings list Roger Williams 9th, Brown University 13th, and University of Rhode Island tied for 20th.
Among the top women’s teams, Brown is 3rd, and Rhode Island 5th.
Yale, coached by Zach Leonard, is 1st in both polls.