Thursday, December 07, 2006

Regatta Race Order

The recent news that the NCAA is considering moving the women's basketball championship back one week to avoid conflicting with the men's championship made me think about the order of finals at major regattas. Somewhere along the line many regattas decided to move the women's final after the men's final. The prime example of this is IRAs where last spring the order was men's heavy eight, women's light eight, and men's light eight.

I would guess that this was originally done as a show of support for the women, giving their final a better (later) spot on the program than the heavy men. The reality, unfortunately, is a bit different. Those who attended the IRA finals saw the stands and shoreline near the finish tower fill to capacity in anticipation of the heavyweight men's championship. Once that race finished spectators moved in to see the medal presentations and then promptly began to wander off. As the light women came across the line, only those specifically interested in that race seemed to be watching. That was a decent enough crowd, but no heavyweight men fans lingered to see what the lightweight women were all about.

I assume this ordering of the races was well intentioned, but it doesn't work. The order should be light men, light women, heavy men. It would be nice if the heavyweight men's fans stayed to watch the lightweight championships, but they don't. At least not yet. We should take advantage of the forming crowd and run the light women just before the heavy men. With the increasing quality of the lightweight women's field, I have no doubt it would be a show worth watching.

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