By Emily Goddard

Mathew Belcher Malcolm Page 150313March 16 - Mathew Belcher, Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Tom Slingsby are among the London 2012 Olympic champions, medallists and world champions to have been named on the 2013 Australian sailing team as the nation begins its Rio 2016 campaign.

Last year's Olympics was Australian sailing's most successful ever, when they secured three golds and a silver to sit atop the sailing medal tally, and the sport proved to be the country's strongest discipline for the first time at any Games.

And although the nation's sailors will be looking for a repeat of that performance, Rio 2016 presents a number of challenges for the team, being a new continent for most, with different conditions to those in Weymouth and Portland, and two new classes – the women's 49erFX and the mixed Nacra 17 multihull.

"It was great to see our crews stand out on the sport's biggest stage at London 2012," said Australian Sailing's performance director Peter Conde.

"The results at the Games were the culmination of years of hard work for the entire team, including the athletes, coaches and support staff.

"We know that we can't rest on those achievements, if we do the rest of the sailing world will pass us by.

"The team is now fully focused on Rio 2016, we've got new classes and new conditions which will present plenty of challenges but we have the team to remain at the top."

Tom Slingsby 150313Tom Slingsby is the reigning world champion and Olympic gold medallist in the laser class

London 2012 470 class gold medallist Belcher (pictured top, left) begins a new Olympic campaign with a new crew, teaming up with Will Ryan following the retirement of double gold medallist Malcolm Page (pictured top, right), and the pair have already made the perfect start by winning their first four regattas together, including the opening round of the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail Melbourne.

Gold medallists in the 49er class Outteridge and Jensen, and men's laser champion Slingsby have qualified for the Australian sailing team but will spend most of the year focused on the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco, where Outteridge and Jensen will work with Artemis Racing and Slingsby with the Oracle Team USA crew.

Outteridge and Jensen will spend time training on a 49er in San Francisco, while Slingsby is waiting until his America's Cup commitments have ended before deciding on his next move.

Olivia Price Nina Curtis and Lucinda WhittyOlivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty have all switched classes as women's match racing not a part of the Olympic schedule at Rio 2016

With women's match racing not a part of the Olympic schedule at Rio 2016, Australia's silver medallists Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty have all switched classes, with Price steering a 49erFX, Curtis juggling a season in both the 49erFX and Nacra 17, and Whitty trying her hand at the mixed catamaran.

Price and Curtis will both sail alongside Australian sailing squad members in the 49erFX, with Price racing with former laser radial sailor Caitlin Elks and Curtis with Haylee Outteridge, younger sister of Nathan.

Beijing 2008 gold medallist Elise Rechichi is aiming for her third straight Games appearance in the 470 women's class, competing with squad member Sarah Cook, an Olympic rower who has made a successful transition to sailing, with the pair recently winning the women's trophy at the 2013 Australian 470 Championship.

Brendan Casey will be out to put his London 2012 experience to good use in the Finn class, while laser sailor Tom Burton has secured his spot in the team for another year following a strong 2012 where he finished in the top six in every regatta he contested – his next challenge is the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]