Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Yo, Philadelphia! How About It?

FITD was fortunate to get a mention in the latest issue of the Schuylkill Navy newsletter, so some of you are Philadelphians coming here for the first time. I have a question for you: Where are all of your lightweight programs? Philadelphia, arguably the center of rowing in the United States, does not have one dedicated lightweight women's rowing program. Villanova (which now rows outside of the city) won the national championship in 1998 but now only rows lightweight boats of opportunity. St. Joseph's occasionally puts out lightweight boats, which can be quite competitive, but doesn't race the category consistently. Think of all the college programs on the Schuylkill - Bryn Mawr, LaSalle, Drexel, Penn, Temple, and Haverford, in addition to Villanova and St. Joe's - and not one lightweight program.

Lightweights do row in Philadelphia, as evidenced by the current national team LW2x out of Penn AC and last year's national team LW4x out of Vesper, not to mention the lightweights at Undine Barge. Lightweights row there in high school too - Archbishop Prendergast and Mount St. Joseph's are two examples. Boston, though, has the MIT and Radcliffe lights and Washington DC has the Georgetown lights. Even San Francisco has lightweight women - Stanford and Cal. Why aren't there any in Phialdelphia?

Penn seems to be the prime school to start a lightweight women's program. They have lightweight men so they understand the value of lightweight rowing, and those lightweight men are the most successful program in the boathouse. Why not lightweight women? They would have plenty of nearby competition, including Ivy League competition. Penn is one of largest Ivies so they have a great recruiting base. Everything is in place for the launch of a successful program, even a new coach who just may be bringing some new thinking to the team.

Maybe the city is still scarred from being named the nation's most obese a year or two ago. Maybe in Philadelphia there are no lightweights because, well, there are no lightweights.

Naaah. C'mon Philadelphia, just do it!


Anonymous said...

Why is it that for most lightweight womens collegiate races, USRowing rules of racing are not followed regarding weigh-in procedures? Competitors at USRowing National Championships, as well as at National Team trials or any FISA event are required to weigh-in between one and two hours before the start of the race each day of the competition. Yet at IRAs, competitors weigh in only once. For other races, especially duels, rowers weigh-in the night before, sometimes with only their own staff present. This casts a huge shadow of doubt on the accuracy of the weigh-ins. Why are USRowing rules of racing not followed for this.

JW Burk said...

This is a good question, which I've also wondered about. I'll see if I can find an answer.