White Bear Lake Sailor Has Olympic Dreams

by | Jul 2024

Lara Dallman-Weiss and racing partner Stu McNay at the Olympic Trials.

Lara Dallman-Weiss and racing partner Stu McNay at the Olympic Trials. Photo: Jay Rendall

Lara Dallman-Weiss heads to Paris to test her mettle with the best sailors in the world.

Speaking with Olympic sailor Lara Dallman-Weiss—who grew up in Shoreview and learned to sail on White Bear Lake—you’d be surprised to learn that she almost didn’t pursue elite sailing at all. Though she started taking lessons at White Bear Sailing School at age 6, she was never “super serious” about racing, she says. She disliked sailing alone and preferred social two-person boats over the competitive parts of the sport.

Former White Bear Sailing School coach Jay Rendall knew that Dallman-Weiss had the diverse skills needed to be a great sailor. “There’s the communication side, the physical side—you have to be able to do things quickly—and the tactical side. It’s like playing chess out on the lake,” Rendall says.

Dallman-Weiss was a multisport athlete at Mounds View High School, not wanting to commit to one thing. “I was all set to go to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on a running scholarship,” she says. At the last minute, she decided to attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where a fellow sailor from White Bear Lake was a student.

“When I went to college and sailing was my only sport, I poured all of my energy into sailing,” she says. “I decided I wanted to keep doing this at a serious level.”

Lara Dallman-Weiss

Lara Dallman-Weiss. Photo: Patrick Corley

She graduated from Eckerd in 2011 and gave her all to sailing. She found her first Olympic berth in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, where Dallman-Weiss and her sailing partner placed 12th in the women’s 470 class event (470 boats are 4.7 meters long and have a team of two). She says growing up sailing on White Bear Lake has given her some unique strengths. “Lake sailors are known to kind of have a gut feeling for certain conditions. Whenever I’m at a venue where the water’s flat and the wind starts shifting around, that’s where I thrive,” she says.

Dallman-Weiss’s calmness under pressure—and ability to adapt to changing wind conditions—has led her to this year’s Summer Olympics in Paris, this time in a new gender-integrated class (the mixed two-person dinghy event will take place in Marseilles in southern France). She and her racing partner, Stu McNay, won their final qualifying event for the games in February and have been honing their communication and technical skills to prepare for a shot at the gold. “We’re narrowing down what equipment we’re going to use, like the mast and centerboard … You kind of hedge your bets toward what the waters in Marseilles will be like,” Dallman-Weiss says.

She’s looking forward to having her family along for the Paris Olympic Games; they weren’t able to join her in Tokyo because of COVID-19 restrictions. “My parents are the reason I’m doing this,” Dallman-Weiss says of her mom, Sue Dallman, and dad, John Weiss. “They’re the most supportive humans.”

For her childhood teammates and coaches back home, Dallman-Weiss’s Olympic-level success is a source of pride. “It’s so exciting,” Rendall says. “People are really proud she’s doing this. With being proud comes a responsibility to support her.”

The 2024 Olympics take place July 26 through August 11 in Paris. Watch Lara Dallman-Weiss in Mixed Dinghy sailing events from August 2–7. Find more at paris2024.org.

White Bear Sailing School
Facebook: White Bear Sailing School
Instagram: @whitebearsailingschool


Recent Stories

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This