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Lane Tobin: Michigan Sailing Team

Lane Tobin is a sophomore at the University of Michigan who regularly demonstrates extraordinary leadership skills through her academics and extracurricular activities. She is currently training for the Ann Arbor half marathon, she is a peer mentor for WISE, and she has recently been elected co-captain of Michigan’s sailing team. Before studying Industrial Operations and Engineering at Michigan, she took a gap year and sailed along the East Coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean for nine months…She is always up for a challenge!


Her Campus: Tell us about your gap year.

Lane Tobin: This entire trip was a highlight, but one memory, in particular, really sticks out. My family was sailing from Newport to Bermuda, and it was the worst sailing experience of my life. Forty minutes into this four-day passage, I got seasick for the first time. I couldn’t hold down any water or food, so I was dehydrated and hungry. However, at the end of all of that chaos, the coolest thing happened. It was the middle of the night, and I looked over the side of the boat and saw a pod of dolphins playing in our wake, which was lighting up from bioluminescent phytoplankton. I felt warm puffs of wind across my face, and I knew we had reached the Gulf Stream. That made me realize this trip might not be so bad after all.


HC: As a recently elected co-captain of Michigan’s sailing team, what do you feel you’ll contribute most to the team as a leader?

LT: I think my best contribution is team spirit and inclusiveness. I really try to make people feel welcome. Also, I’m not afraid to say what I’m thinking, even if it’s not the most popular opinion.


HC: What are you looking forward to during your year as captain?

LT: Being captain is a large responsibility, but I look forward to handling the challenges and upcoming fundraising. Within the past four years, the team started a capital campaign, and last year we were able to purchase a brand new fleet of 12 boats called Flying Juniors. We are now in phase two of the capital campaign, which is starting an endowment. We are very close to reaching a quasi-endowment, which will be used to fund a coach so we can compete at the varsity level.


HC: Can you talk about a favorite memory from your time sailing for Michigan?

LT: My favorite memory on Michigan’s team has to be a regatta called Kennedy Cup, which is the Collegiate National Keelboat Championship. At Michigan, we primarily sail two person boats called dinghies, but, here, we got to compete on a larger boat with a ten-person team. This was exciting because it presented us with the unique opportunity to compete against highly qualified teams. The first two races of the event, we got last by a long shot. The team felt demoralized, and as I was the skipper and was driving the boat, I felt like it was my fault. However, we showed huge improvements in our teamwork and communication, and we ended up getting a first place in one race on the last day. We earned the respect of our competitors and proved that we were able to compete against better-funded teams.


HC: What is your favorite quote?

LT: I’m not sure what my favorite quote is, but I read a great line on the bathroom wall of the Dude this morning. It said, “Right now you are the only person who knows exactly what they are doing.”

Emily studies English and History at the University of Michigan. She can usually be found reading Harry Potter, eating chocolate chip cookies, or talking about Chuck Bass.
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