Sydney Bolger's answer to how she approaches sailing conditions during competition also ended up being the same mentality that could be applied to fielding questions at Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Bolger, along with Charlie Buckingham and Chris Barnard, returned to NHYC on May 16 as part of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider to talk about their campaign/training to the 2016 Olympics.
Someone asked what type of conditions do the sailors hope for during competition.
"You have to go in every day with an open mind," Bolger said. "And ready for any type of condition."
Little did she know she would also need an open mind during the Q&A session from members of the club and yours truly on May 16.
There were questions about training, schedules and diets, but the media in the back wanted to know more about lifestyle.
I asked: "Are you involved in a relationship, and if so how difficult is it to maintain while training for the Olympics?"
Laughter broke out at the NHYC and there were a few eye rolls.
"It's definitely not easy," Buckingham said with no hint of a chuckle. "It's tough to maintain and I'll leave it at that."
Bolger has a boyfriend, and Barnard carries a long distance relationship with his girlfriend, with plenty of challenges.
Fred Strammer, from Nokomis, Fla., who is also on the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, said he is single and available. I liked his sense of humor.
I'm sure none of the four sailors would ever have a problem landing a date. I mainly wanted to ask the question to grasp the many challenges they face as they vie for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, basically the Super Bowl of their sport.
I'm not all familiar with sailing, yet, but I do know a story when I see one. And, there's one here, coming out of NHYC and heading into the 2016 Rio Olympics.
There's one spot for the men's Laser class and the top sailors vying for it are Buckingham and Barnard, who both excelled at Newport Harbor High and later at Georgetown. They grew up together as friends at the NHYC.
I don't sense any animosity between the two, but there is a healthy competition for sure to land that spot in the Olympics.
Buckingham is considered the favorite with a bit more experience. Barnard, however, won't back down from the challenge.
Yet, I don't think that necessarily pushes Buckingham to be great. I get the sense he doesn't really need others to provide motivation. He has the goal of being the Laser sailor for the Olympics and he is attacking it.
What a treat for NHYC and the rest of Newport Beach to follow these two as they train for Olympic qualification.
Buckingham is a two-time College Sailor of the Year out of Georgetown (2009, 2011) and gained Olympic experience by working as a coach to Virgin Islands Laser sailor Cy Thompson in the London Games.
They are now training together in Long Beach.
U.S. Olympic sailing coach Charlie McKee says Buckingham is the top Laser sailor in the nation and there are several reasons for that.
"The one thing about Charlie is that he's very systematic," McKee said. "He's more, 'how am I going to get to the top? And what do I need to work on?' He will attack a problem like, 'I need to work on this. I need to work on my conditioning. OK, I'm too strong but not dynamic enough. I'm going to change my workout program. What's my ratio from training to sailing?'
"He studies the game and he will be like the best track and field athletes, he will tear down his game, analyze it and build it back up to the highest level again. And that's Charlie."
What about Barnard?
He was also the College Sailor of the Year with the Hoyas, right after Buckingham, in 2012.
"What Chris has going for him is that he's a little bit younger and newer to the top level of the Laser, but he has this attitude," McKee said. "He has succeeded in every level he's competed at in sailing and he's not afraid of any challenge."
McKee then provided more detail for why there will be great competition for the Laser spot.
"Some athletes they are good, you know, and the first time they are like the big fish in the small pond," McKee said. "And the first time they get to a level that's high they are, "Whoa!" And, they realize they are not the best in their level and they hit that, and they get discouraged and are not willing to do the hard work. But Chris is like 'I'm not afraid of this. I'm attacking.' He has the combination of the talent and this sort of extra fierceness."
Both sailors are charming in their own way. That resonated during the night at the NHYC. As part of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider they are among the top athletes in each Olympic class.
Bolger competes in the women's 470 (two-person dinghy).
They were at the NHYC to provide insight to their training and development.
But Buckingham's father, Jim, asked McKee what it was like to train for the Olympics and compare it to now.
McKee won the bronze medal in the 470 class in the 1988 Olympics with John Shadden and the bronze in the 49er in 2000 with his brother, Jonathan.
McKee stressed that his training consisted of a few months leading up to the Olympics, but the sailors today train all four years.
"The amount of races we had in four years back then, they now do it in one year," McKee said.
The training is definitely intense. Charlie Buckingham said he uses a triathlon trainer to build up his stamina for competition.
This isn't all about Olympic qualification. The sailors want to win in Rio.
The U.S. was shut out at the London Games, where it failed to win a medal for the first time since the 1936 Berlin Games.
So you can understand why they train so hard. For Buckingham and Barnard, it isn't all really about two NHYC sailors vying for the Olympics. It's about winning. When it's on this level, that's what it's usually about.