Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lightweights in the News

There was a nice article in The Columbian about a pacific Lutheran lightweight rower. There were a couple of interesting points in this article. The first was that PLU practices at 4am! Classes must start awfully early at PLU (if this is correct). The second point is the discussion of cutting weight. The rower, Shayna Horracks, laughs about how hard it was for her to drop weight to 130 pounds, and says that her normal weight is 132. In fact, she cut to 126.6, probably as a result of the Head of the Charles practice of averaging. One hundred thirty two is a pretty normal weight for a lightweight rower (as well as a pretty normal weight for 5'7" woman), but no doubt she had a bit of a struggle to get to 126. I'm sure she had teammates closer to the 138 HOCR limit. This is why there is no averaging in collegiate events, because it makes everyone cut weight, even those athletes who are natural lightweights.

On another topic, a reader noted the story about the USC men adding lightweights to the program and wondered if the women will be next. This would be great if it happened, but I think it is not too likely. First of all there is the Football Theorem at work (average weight of the women's crew is proportional to the prominence of a school's football program), coupled with the natural reticence of women's varsity coaches to consider lightweights. The most interesting thing about the men's story is the attitude of the men's coach toward the lightweights. After saying that he is adding lightweights to increase the opportunities for students to row, he says that "a person can develop athletically quite dramatically from one year to the next. Someone who is a lightweight this year can turn into quite a decent heavyweight oarsman next year.” In addition, the lightweights are racing in the "sub-varsity" category, whatever that is. Doesn't quite sound like an unequivocal commitment to lightweights to me.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin continues to tout the achievements of its women's lightweights. A story in the Wisconsin State Journal discusses the high caliber of Wisconsin athletics, pointing to the lightweights as national champions and examples of athletic excellence. Wisconsin really does a great job of giving its lightweights recognition and setting them up as models for other Wisconsin teams to follow. (Of course, it helps when you've won three national championships in a row!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it (from a sw coaches meeting held at Stanford a few weeks past ) that lightweight 2x will be added to the jr. nationals this year. The Cal Cups and the Long Beach Invitational will be adding ltw 2x in response.