Sunday, August 28, 2005

USRowing Testing Procedures

Why does USRowing allow lightweight women to weigh 140 pounds at the April test? This is 15 pounds over the international average, while lightweight men may only be 10 pounds over. I'm not sure why these large weight fluctuations are allowed (encouraged, really), particularly when we hear of collegiate coaches who believe lightweight rowing is dangerous. By making 140 (or more) pound women believe they should be lightweights, USRowing sanctions dangerous weight loss and limits opportunities for natural lightweights.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Healthy Lightweight Entries at Worlds

A look at entries at the World Championships in Japan shows a healthy number of women's lightweight entries. Only 7 of the 23 events have more entries than the women's lightweight 2x (the Olympic event) and only 3 have more entries than the light women's 1x. At 7 entries the light women's 4x has about the same number of entries as the women's heavyweight 4x (9) and heavyweight 8+ (8). This points to the popularity of lightweight rowing at the elite level and suggests that it would be in USRowing's interest to promote collegiate lightweight rowing.

Monday, August 15, 2005

75 to 10

That's the number of fours racing at the 2005 IRA Regatta compared to the total number of women's lightweight boats. (The lightweight men only have 12 boats so they're not much better off. They can, however, shift some lightweights into fours.) To accomodate those fours there are 48 separate races compared to 4 four the lightweight women. Why is that? Do we really need both a varsity four with and a varsity four without? Why is there an open four in addition to a varsity four? If just two of these races were dropped, they could be replaced with men's and women's freshman lightweight 8 races. Or even lightweight 4 races. The fours go on so long at IRAs that in the middle of it all it is doubtful even the referees know exactly which race is going down the course. This is very hard to understand.

Friday, August 05, 2005

With Friends Like This...

...who needs enemies? This is an old story (2004), but what is up with Kris Sanford of Syracuse? In this story, the writer claims that programs such as Massachusetts and Villanova have an advantage over Syracuse because they have lightweight teams and Syracuse doesn't. This supposedly gives them more rowers to compete for the top heavyweight boat. The reader is left with the impression that Sanford believes this as well. This reasoning misses the fact that these programs (Villanova anyway) put out lightweight boats when they have a good group of lightweights in their program, not because they recruit lightweights. Schools that recruit lightweights don't switch them in and out of the heavyweight program. Syracuse, meanwhile, has the advantage of being able to recruit enough heavyweights to fill the available seats. This is no doubt a coach simply talking up the opposition for a news article.

Far more troubling, however, is Sanford's implication that all lightweight rowers lose an unsafe amount of weight to row, as if there are no natural lightweights. "It isn't safe," she says. If a coach doesn't understand how to run a "safe" lightweight program herself, she shouldn't assume it can't be done. This troglodyte attitude plays into unproven stereotypes of lightweight rowers as emaciated sticks who never eat. Gee, I wonder how they ever pull on an oar? This just isn't an issue in responsible programs (which nearly all are).