n Photo by Daniel Foster/Miami Rolex OCR
Wind at his back: Alex Jones has been working on learning how to set his board and sail properly with former U.S. Olympian Ben Barger in Bermuda. Jones is seen here training in Miami.
* Photo by Daniel Foster/Miami Rolex OCR. Wind at his back: Alex Jones has been working on learning how to set his board and sail properly with former U.S. Olympian Ben Barger in Bermuda. Jones is seen here training in Miami.
n Photo by Daniel Foster/Miami Rolex OCR
Wind at his back: Alex Jones has been working on learning how to set his board and sail properly with former U.S. Olympian Ben Barger in Bermuda. Jones is seen here training in Miami.
* Photo by Daniel Foster/Miami Rolex OCR. Wind at his back: Alex Jones has been working on learning how to set his board and sail properly with former U.S. Olympian Ben Barger in Bermuda. Jones is seen here training in Miami.

If you want to get to the Olympics, training with an Olympian is a good place to start.

Windsurfer Alex Jones has been put through his paces the past two weeks by college friend Ben Barger, who also just happens to be a seven-time U.S. national champion and 2008 Olympian.

The pair have been training in the Great Sound.

Jones is looking to be the first Bermudian to qualify for the Olympics in this sport since Hugh Watlington did so in 1984.

Jones said: “This has been fantastic.

“It’s so depressing going out and just getting slaughtered by people (in regattas) so it’s a relief training with someone.

“I’m finally learning what I really need to be doing.”

He said part of what Barger has taught him is the proper tuning of the board and sail to go fast for every type of condition.

“You can sail all you want by yourself and get as strong as you want, but until you’re lining up with someone and tweaking all the settings, you never get any feedback as to what’s actually fast and gets you around the course quickly.”

Jones pointed to the Rolex Miami OCR event as an example where a lack of a training partner was detrimental to his performance.

Barger’s been influential in Jones windsurfing career.  “He got me back into windsurfing after an eight year layoff in 2008. I went and trained with him and two other Olympians that winter.

Jones had to relearn how to sail and transform body from one primed to do triathlons to one geared for windsurfing.

He said training in the Great Sound provides many similar conditions to Weymouth, the home for sailing at the 2012 Games.

“We’ve had a huge variety of conditions so that’s been a lot of fun.

“We had some really light winds when Ben first showed up, then we had a day with 75 knots.

“The conditions have been really ideal… to learning how to use the board in a variety of wind whether its been 15 knots of wind or 30 knots of wind.”

Barger said there is no doubt that Jones has the potential to qualify for London.

Barger said: “Bermuda in the winter provides the biggest variety of conditions, especially going into London.

“Weymouth is a pretty windy venue.

“We’ve had a great variety of conditions from really light to really windy, which is something we don’t usually have in the U.S. unless you’re in California or Hawaii.

“The conditions here lend really well into Olympic training.

“Alex has an enormous amount of talent so it’s just a matter of having someone to sail with and get him back on track.

“We sailed a lot together back in college. Seeing him get back on the board, I’ve seen gains in him with his talent improving.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to get him to the games in London and am excited to work with him to get him on track.”