Sailing was a natural progression for Thomas Barrows, whose parents sailed to the U.S. Virgin Islands and lived on a boat for six years. In turn, Barrows began sailing at 5 years old and began racing at 8 years old. In 2000, he won his first event: the New England Optimist Championships. Barrows made his international racing debut at the 2003 Caribbean and Central American Games in Mexico. In 2008, he competed at the Beijing Games – representing the U.S. Virgin Islands – in the Laser class before changing to the 49er class under the U.S. flag. Barrows and 49er teammate Joe Morris – who have been sailing together longer than any active U.S. 49er team – secured their Olympic selection after defeating U.S. Sailing’s Judge Ryan and Hans Henken in a tight race at the 2016 49er World Championships in Clearwater, Fla.
Barrows attended Yale University, as did his partner, Joe Morris.