Briana Provancha will be representing the United States and San Diego while sailing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger.
Provancha started sailing at the age of 8 when a family friend introduced her to the sport, an opportunity she says she is forever thankful for.
“My dad, my sister and I went to the Mission Bay Yacht Club a lot with a family friend,” Provancha said. “They had bay races every Sunday and one day the crew didn’t show up. They asked if I would race and then asked me back every Sunday after that.”
Born and raised in San Diego, Provancha sailed competitively through high school at the Southwestern Yacht Club in Point Loma.
According to Provancha, the more time she spent involved in the sport the deeper her love for it grew.
“When sailing there is this feeling of being in control of your own destiny,” she said. “Very few 8-year-olds get that awesome feeling.”
While attending Point Loma High, Provancha started to make a name for herself in the competitive sailing world. She won four national high school sailing championships and qualified for the ISAF Youth World team in 2005, 2006 and 2007. By the time she was 16, Provancha had successfully competed in races around the world.
The Point Loma High graduate then went on to Boston College where she sailed for five years and officially partnered with her current teammate Haeger.
At Boston College, team Haeger Provancha proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
“When sailing with a teammate, communication is everything and that comes with its challenges but it has been wonderful sharing this experience with someone,” said Provancha. “I am so thankful for Annie.”
Provancha lead the Boston College sailing team to seven national titles and she received numerous awards from the school including Women’s MVP and Outstanding Senior.
“There were people at BC that believed in me from the moment my freshman year started,” Provancha said. “I and they believed this was my path and we made sure I was prepared for the Olympic process.”
In 2012, Provancha graduated from Boston College with a bachelor of science in marketing and the Olympics in her sights.
In April, she and Haeger qualified for the Summer Games, a reality Provancha said she doesn’t think she will ever get used to.
“Every kid watches the opening ceremonies and wonders what that experience must be like,” Provancha said. “I can’t wait to walk in next to Annie and I am excited to share this moment with those in my life who have made sacrifices, particularly my family.”
Team Haeger Provancha will sail for gold in August. They both can be easily spotted by the white zinc they wear on their faces.
“My dad was a stickler for sunscreen growing up, but after a while you can’t tell if it’s still on,” she said, “When you spend three to six hours out on the water you need to be protected and zinc works perfectly because you can see it. Now it is just part of our routine and you’ll definitely see it in Rio.”
Provancha is excited for what the United States team as a whole has to offer at this year’s games and said the vibe across the board is great.
“It’s all about the path and where you come from,” Provancha said. “San Diego is one of the best sailing communities and one of the best overall communities and I am honored to represent the United States and San Diego in the games. It would be great to bring a medal home.”