Thursday, March 09, 2006

2006 IRA Weigh-In Procedures Announced

The weigh-in procedures for the 2006 IRA Women's Lightweight National Championship have been announced. There are two primary changes from past years:

- Weigh-ins will be held the day before the first day of racing

- Each rower will need documentation of three prior weigh-ins from spring races.

Another key part of the procedure continuing from previous years is that a rower weighing over 132 pounds at the first weigh-in may not race, and a rower over 130 but under 132 may make two more attempts to make weight within one hour.

So, as some of you have wondered, you will hear "Paperz pleez," at IRAs. (Actually, the documentation of your weigh-ins will be sent along with the entry.) What you won't hear, at least not yet, is, "Fill ze bottle, pleez." There will be no hydration test.

To provide a little bit more detail, let me quote from the weigh-in principles:

To participate in the IRA National Championship, each MEMBER of a lightweight women's crew entry will be required to submit documentation of weigh-in on at least three different race dates between April 1 and the IRA entry due date, in that given year.

Weigh-in records, presented as documentation for the IRA entry, must be spaced at least 1-week apart; where there is a scheduling hardship (lack of enough April race-dates), a weigh-in record alone for a crew or athlete, will suffice.

That last statement leaves a question or two in my mind. A few posts ago I noted that the UCF heavyweight boat that raced Michigan contained at least two rowers listed as lightweights on the school's roster. If these women race all season as heavyweights, can they be weighed-in three times by the school medical staff during the season, complete the necessary documentation, and race for UCF as lightweights come IRAs? I'm not sure if the purpose of the rule is to ensure that real lightweights are racing or that real lightweights who raced as lightweights whenever possible are racing. I've asked for clarification on this so if I get it I'll post it. [Update: See post above.]

I think this three weigh-in rule is a good rule. Lightweight rowing is for lightweights and is not for midweights or heavyweights who are able to suck down to 130 for a national championship race. It certainly changes things, however, if the requirement is that you have to race lightweight, not just be lightweight, during the season. I can think of pros and cons to a rule like that, but I'll hold off thinking more about it until I hear more. I make fun of the documentation aspect of the new rule because documentation means bureaucracy and bureaucracy exists to be mocked. Nonetheless, I do think this is a good thing.

Maybe the best aspect of these new rules is that the lightweight coaches took the time to consider and develop them. It shows organization. I don't mean that lightweight coaches haven't done much for the sport in the past, but I've always thought they should be more organized and more vocal. It looks like the organization part is coming, and I hope they're working on the vocal part. Heck, maybe someday Rowing News will even discover that more than two schools race lightweight!

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