Wednesday, January 31, 2007

2007 Season Preview - Lehigh University

It's cold outside (finally) but the erg rooms are heating up and it's time for Fight in the Dog's 2007 season preview. I preview the coming season for each of last year's top ten V8s, starting with #10 and finishing with #1. If I believe a program won't be boating a light eight, I'll hurl curses in their general direction and fill in the slot with the next crew down the list. I'm also starting a lightweight race calendar which I'll fill in as I do the previews. So far Lehigh's schedule is in. You can find it here.

Last year we began with #10 Lehigh University and this year we begin with #10. . . Lehigh. If you're a Lehigh rower, perhaps you're a bit disappointed not to have improved on the prior season, but in a year that saw the entire lightweight field move up a notch in competitiveness, holding your own isn't such a bad result.

Lehigh's season starts on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, a course nearly as familiar to the Mountain Hawks as their home water. Facing Delaware, St. Joseph's, and LaSalle on March 19th, the lightweights should get an opportunity to race against lightweights from St. Joe's. St. Joe's usually has lightweights early in the season, dropping them later if they don't appear to be fast. Delaware and LaSalle may also boat lightweights. Lehigh heads back to Philadelphia the next weekend for another race against LaSalle on Saturday and against Villanova on Sunday. Villanova also usually boats lightweights early. March ends with the Murphy Cup on the 24th, which is a race in which Coach Savell expects to race lightweights. Last year Lehigh raced a light four, although a light eight may have been entered in a heavyweight event.

April kicks off with the San Diego Crew Classic (what a great trip!) and although there is a light eight event, at the moment Lehigh's lightweights are not expected to race there. The Crew Classic is followed by a dual with Drexel back in Philadelphia the next weekend, and the Knecht Cup in Camden the following weekend. Knecht will be a key test for the Mountain Hawks since, despite Windermere occurring on the same day, they'll be able to line up against some of the best programs in the nation. Following Knecht is the rivalry race with Lafayette, with Army crashing the party. Lafayette was racing some lightweights in the fall, so they may race here. The month ends with the Patriot League Championships in Worcester. Coach Savell expects to race a light boat at Patriots, although there wasn't a light event last year. Either there is this year or the lightweights will race as heavyweights.

The championship month of May will see Lehigh racing lightweights at Dad Vail on the 11th and then at IRAs at the end of the month. We'll have to see how Dad Vail shakes out vs. ECACs. Maybe now that ECAC canceled the lightweight events last year, everyone will just go to Dad Vail and be done with it.

The Knecht Cup should be the first big test for Lehigh. They haven't raced here for several years but they plan to this year and that will be important to get a feel for where they stand. Of course, a Dad Vail championship should be a key goal, one that is doable and which would provide some momentum heading into IRAs. Lehigh lost three rowers from last year's IRA boat so, while not a complete reconstruction, there will still be some work to be done to be at least as competitive as last year.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another Take on the Battle of the Ergs

Read the comment to the last C2 post for another take on the static vs. dynamic erg controversy. (Unfortunately, I also reveal my ignorance.)

Also, thanks to Rebecca Caroe in the UK, this FITD discussion has been noted and is running in parallel in It doesn't appear that this subject is new to the participants in that discussion, but they bring yet another dimension to the whole thing.

Monday, January 29, 2007

No Question Which Machine Xeno Likes

Check out this post from Xeno Muller. Yikes! I don't even slobber over my dog that much!

More From Concept II

After reading the most recent erg posts, Dick Dreissigacker at Concept II had a few more comments. After agreeing that a dynamic erg is certainly more like rowing than a static erg, he went on to say:

I think there is a realistic way to isolate the difference between modes and experience the magnitude of the forces being discussed. Sit on a stationary erg, do not pick up the handle, go through the motion of rowing at the desired stroke rate (be careful as it can be easy to row too high without the handle). You will feel the forces required to move your body mass back and forth. (Probably the most dramatic thing you will feel is at the end of the drive movement as you reverse the motion of your torso, which in practice is supported by the arms pulling the handle). Now do the same in dynamic mode. The forces you feel are those required to move the erg parts, and they will be lower than on the stationary erg. You will have just experienced the differences this discussion is talking about.

The forces you generate in spinning the flywheel are in addition to these “movement forces”. The forces you apply to the flywheel are significantly greater than the “movement forces”, are adjustable through machine settings, and are the same regardless of stationary or dynamic mode.

While you are at it, here is another experiment that will demonstrate the dramatic effect that stroke rate has on the force you will be feel, in either stationary or dynamic mode. Start out rowing at 30 SPM and settle in to a comfortable pace, about 10 seconds slower than your race pace. After 10 strokes or so drop to 20 SPM but maintain the same pace/500 (be careful not to hurt yourself when you do this!). I think you will notice a much heavier force at the start of your stroke while rowing at 20 SPM. Now bring your stroke rate back to 30 at the same pace and get a feel of the force at the catch. A low stroke rate means low flywheel speed at the catch therefore a heavier load can be generated. This is the same thing that is experienced on the water, and why high power, low stroke rate workouts, on or off the water, should be done with care…and perhaps not overdone.

When Does an 8:10.5 Get You to CRASH-Bs?

When you're a 68 year old lightweight! Luanne Mills qualified at the Ergomania Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships in Seattle last weekend. (Interestingly enough, this Pocock Rowing press release announcing Luanne's qualification from 2005 is headlined by another CRASH-B qualifier, current Wisconsin coach Erik Miller.) She also holds the world record for her age category at 8:00.0. It appears she is an erg specialist.

Since it's erg time, it's always interesting to take a look at published scores. In Seattle, several of the Pocock Elite scullers competed, including some of last year's national team light 4x. The winning time was 7:13.6.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Static vs. Dynamic Ergs - Concept II Comments

Yesterday I posted the comments of Mark Campbell of Rowperfect on the FITD erg discussion, and today I have Dick Dreissigacker's of Concept II. If you recall, a paper by Ivan Hooper of Rowing Australia (and some FITD commentors), found fault with static ergs. (See the last post for links to the paper and FITD posts.) In short, the argument is that static ergs are more likely than dynamic ergs to cause injury because there is greater force applied at the catch and it promotes overcompression. Other problems relate to the way the erg is used. Critics also contend that a dynamic erg better simulates actual rowing. As the manufacturer of a static erg (although one which can be made dynamic through the use of slides), Concept II came out on the short end of the stick. For this reason I'm particularly happy to have Dick's comments.

As I did before, I'll simply quote most of the C2 email to avoid mis-stating anything or quoting it out of context (emphasis is mine). Dick began by saying:

I agree that volume of work and the intensity of forces applied by the athlete are critical to monitor. However, it seems that in this discussion comparing ergometer rowing (fixed and dynamic) and rowing on the water, the most important aspect is overlooked. The magnitude of the force and the “speed vs. force relationship” that an athlete is able to apply is largely adjustable by settings on the ergs or by rigging of the boat. In general I feel that rowing athletes choose to train on ergs with the damper setting (drag factor) set too high, creating a situation where they can generate high forces at slower speed of movement than in a boat. This is not generally a good idea, and I have spoken with a number of coaches who have their athletes row the erg in the “easiest” damper setting, so they train to move more quickly.

The effect of low stroke rating on the force felt by the erg rower is significant. The more time spent on the recovery the more the flywheel slows down. The slower the flywheel at the catch the heavier the feel - in other words the more force the rower will be able to generate. The same is true in rowing with a low rating in the boat. We completely agree with the point that coaches need to consider the risks involved with long rows at low rating.

Interestingly, there is a strong tendency to row the erg in dynamic mode at a higher rating, thereby effectively reducing the force (the flywheel doesn't slow down as much between strokes at higher ratings). This factor may account for much of the difference seen in stress/load/force on the rower between static and dynamic mode.

Dick goes on to discuss the difference between the static and dynamic mode. I recall watching rowers test on C2 slides shortly after they came out. Some rowers pulled better scores while others couldn't stop banging the stops and had to go back to a static erg. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, said that slides couldn't be used for real testing because it was easier (tell that to the stop bangers). Well, what Dick has to say next came as a surprise:
When the Slides first came out, we all thought it would be easier to get a better score on the dynamic erg for all the reasons that have been stated. However, it turns out that the scores are quite similar in most cases (except in the case of short pieces where the dynamic is clearly faster probably due to the higher stroke rates). Hagerman's VO2 measurements on many subjects showed this as well. The metabolic costs of the static and dynamic C2 erg were very similar although there were individual preferences for one type of erg or the other.
Next, Dick addresses a finding in the Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter that highlighted the difference in power application between the static erg and a boat:
We also need to remember that power is not the same thing as force. Regardless of what part of the body is generating the power, the whole body will feel the force. Everything is connected. For this reason, we need to be careful about how we interpret the legs/trunk/arms power percentages of 37%/41%/22% on the erg as compared to the 45%/37%/18% in the boat.

The loading (force)in a boat is even more complex since it involves many variables such as angles, blade design, outboard/inboard ratios, spread, overlap, boat speed, stroke rate, body mass movements, etc. Given this complexity, it seems very difficult to make any across-the-board statement that either rowing in a boat or rowing on an erg is either heavier or lighter than the other. On a related note, we have been working hard to convince coaches that they need to shorten their oars when using our Fat blades. This is because the blade is more effective at “holding” the water, and thus more force can be generated at the end of the handle. It is our opinion that the “effectiveness” of a blade should be maximized and that the “loading” of the athlete should be adjusted by rigging or overall length.

In conclusion, we would offer that coaches need to pay considerable attention to the total training load with respect to volume, intensity, and force. An increased awareness of the situations that create the high stress/load/force situations, both off and on the water, will help the coach manage the training of their athletes.
So now, how to make sense of all this? Well, I think Concept II clearly recognizes the issues raised in the Hooper paper. C2 addresses the greater force at the catch problem by stressing that too many athletes erg with their settings too high. Dick talked about coaches who have their crews erg with the damper at the lowest setting. He didn't say if they were men or women, but think about what setting your team uses. It would certainly seem that lightweight women would have their damper the lowest of all. The feel issue (at least in terms of loading) is also addressed through a discussion of settings, both on the erg and in a boat.

I understand the point C2 makes with the settings, but I think it's a bit problematic. I think most rowers believe that they will pull their best scores at a damper setting other than 1. They'll erg at 1 if forced, but if push comes to shove, when trying for their best score, they'll move it up. Perhaps we can all be trained to race at 1, but it will take some time. Given that the erg is still static, however, it seems that the lower damper will only mitigate the problem, not solve it. Finally, I'm not sure how the feel can ever be the same as a boat on a static erg.

Erg selection aside, however, the most important thing I took away from Dick Dreissigacker's comments is that we're all likely rowing with too much load - on erg or in boat. If his general advice is to lower the damper and shorten the oars, it seems extra important for lightweight women to have those settings correct. I believe I've heard of more injuries than usual this year and I have to wonder if overloading isn't the culprit.

Now that you've read both responses, please let's hear your comments. If you look at the comments to yesterday's post, you'll see that Xeno Muller left his thoughts. He disclosed that he has a vested interest in the success of Rowperfect, but then again, as an Olympic gold medal winner his opinion should be worth something.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Static vs. Dynamic ergs - Rowperfect Comments

After the recent discussion on FITD about ergs, I wrote to both Rowperfect and Concept II and asked them to comment on the discussion here (and here, here, here, and here) as well as on Ivan Hooper's paper. Mark Campbell, co-owner of Rowperfect (which is based in Australia), responded, as did Dick Dreissigacker, co-founder of Concept II. (We definitely have the right people!) I'll start by reviewing Mark Campbell's comments about the Rowperfect erg. I should note that neither man had anything negative to say about the other's product and I should also disclose that I have no relationship with, or financial interest in, either company, although I do own and use a Concept II erg and Concept II oars.

Because Ivan Hooper's paper favored the Rowperfect over the C2 erg (and favored it marginally over the C2 on slides), Mark Campbell had perhaps the easiest job providing comments. There's really no point in me paraphrasing what Mark said (besides, I might get something wrong), so these two posts will mostly be quotes from the emails. From Mark:

[I]t's simply a fact that in a boat you have around 17-23kg "attached" to your feet while on a stationary erg you effectively have Mother Earth attached to your feet. It can be very useful to represent the masses involved as scaled circles, attached to the rower again represented by a circle. In the case of the LWW [lightweight woman], the boat or RP [Rowperfect] represents around 1/4 to 1/3 of the rower's mass. CII or any other stationary erg of course is effectively 6x10^23 tons, CIISliding is 35(model D)-39kg(model E). So the interaction of the masses -especially the BODY VELOCITY of the rower RELATIVE to the attached mass - is vastly different when the one (rower) acts on the other (boat/RP/CII etc). One really good way to think of this is its effect on the movement of the rower's head and therefore feedback to the balance and inertia systems in the rower's head (the Special Sense of Proprioception) as well as the feelings in the muscles and tendons (General Sense of Proprioception) In boat or RP, the rower moves minimally in relation to the boat/head of the RP. In a static erg, the exact opposite - on the CII slider, somewhere between. So the feedback from the muscle/tendons etc to the nerves and brain is VERY different. Think of a baseballer - they don't throw a shotput for practice. They might occasionally throw a SLIGHTLY heavier ball for a drill - but mostly they throw or hit that same baseball all the time to hone their skills, just as the rower can do on the Rowperfect, which also has a very accurately made flywheel which almost perfectly matches the inertia and resistance you feel in the water. From a nerve/muscle point of view, there really isn't much argument that the above explanation is basically sound, the argument you sometimes get is how important it is...

Addressing this question of importance of feel, Mark goes on to say:

I think Ivan Hooper's paper has very accurately summarised a lot of the available information, especially the independent research and the basic physics involved. Other than the examples I've given above I really think it best if people read that paper and make up their own minds, and definitely give the Rowperfect a good try. Nine years ago I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about rowing, when I had the opportunity to row one (dressed in long pants straight from work!). After ten strokes I realised I had a lot more to learn!

While that last bit seems to be something of a pitch, I think it's clear that the Rowperfect advocates believe that trying is believing. Mark finishes by noting that a new version of the Rowperfect is due out soon and includes a recent mailer that went out before Christmas. It's worth noting that the pitch for the machine includes the statement that the Rowperfect has "SIX TIMES less pressure at the catch and finish compared to fixed rowing machines."
So that's the Rowperfect response. As I say, it was easier for Mark because Rowperfect, and more generally dynamic ergs, were favored in the Hooper paper as well as in some of the comments on FITD. I wish I could add my own two cents on the question of "feel," but unfortunately I've never tried a Rowperfect. I have used C2s on slides and I would say that they definitely feel more like a boat than a static C2. They add technique into the equation, where it can (if allowed) be all but absent on a static erg (well, it comes into play as far as "erg score" technique, which can be different than rowing technique).

Next, I'll have Dick Dreissigacker's comments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Miss (Diss?) from UCF

Head UCF Coach Leeanne Crain was interviewed today on the UCF athletics Web site and, while there was much talk of UCF's appearance in the top 20 last season, there was nary a mention of the lightweights top five finish. Look, I understand that the rowing world often revolves around rowers who are "big women and proud of it and proud that we’re strong and we love to eat," but the UCF heavies just grazed the bottom of the top twenty during the season last year while the lightweights finished the season fifth in the country. Yes, a peek at the top 20 is a nice achievement for the heavies, but so is a solid 5th for the lights.

(Gosh I love that "love to eat" quote! It's only January and I've already found a way to use it.)

Erg Comments

I've received some comments from Rowperfect and from Dick Dreissigacker at Concept II about our erg discussion. I need a bit of time to digest them and then I'll post on them. I'll split it into two posts, one on Rowperfect and one on Concept II. I think it's some good information and, despite the fact that it is more of a general rowing topic, I think it is well worth posting here and should be of interest to both coaches and rowers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The end is in sight! Some of you have already been south to get more water time (some of you live in the south!), and others are getting ready to go. Some of you have a race in about a month and a half! This means it's time for season previews. As I did last year, I'll preview each of last season's top ten teams. If I discover that a particular team isn't racing lightweights, I'll replace that team with another.

At this point, the only team I know of that may not race lightweights is URI. I understand that they currently only have a light four although Coach Donohoe hopes to race an eight at A10s. Needless to say, this is disappointing because it wasn't long ago that URI's coach talked about making lightweights a "permanent fixture" in the program. The coaching staff turned over since then so I'm afraid that we may be witnessing the demise of URI lightweights. I thought the program was poised to begin a push into the elite levels of lightweight rowing and all the building blocks seemed to be in place. When the URI heavyweights finish 5th in the nation (as the lightweights did in 2004), we can discuss if focusing on heavies is a good move.

If you have news, gossip, rumors, or updates for the previews, please let me know.

I've promised a follow-up on the erg discussion we had earlier. I received comments from Rowperfect a few weeks ago. I've been in touch with Concept II, but they've delayed responding. I hope to have their response tomorrow.

Finally, I hope to launch a calendar that lists all of this season's lightweight races. I'll probably use Google Calendar and it will be public so if you have a Google ID you will be welcome to add events. Unfortunately, without the ID you will only be able to view it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Remember that Head of the Charles poll I ran here in the weeks leading up to the race? We talked about how it was hardly a predictor because it just depended on who voted for themselves the most. I happened to be looking at posts under the heading "rankings," and I saw the poll results again. Guess what? It almost hit the HOCR results right on! Georgetown and MIT were flipped and Marist and Cal were flipped. Cal tangled with Holy Cross during the race and may very well have finished ahead of Marist with a clean run. Maybe a few people were voting with their heads instead of their hearts.

Stanford Recruit

There hasn't been much in the way of recruiting announcements this year, but a future Stanford rower did make it into the news this week. A story in the New Canaan News-Review on Maritime Rowing Club high school seniors notes that Krista Doersch, a Junior Nationals gold medalist in the light four, will attend Stanford next year. As I've written before, I think it's a good thing for Stanford to bring in rowers from the east. Not that there aren't plenty of good rowers in the west and midwest, but Stanford is a national school and it should recruit nationally. A quick look at this year's roster suggests that Coach Acosta has done a pretty good job - half of the twenty rowers listed are from the "east coast." I would guess that in the student body as a whole much less than 50% is from the east coast.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Stetson to Add Lightweights!

Stetson will be adding lightweights to it's women's crew program with the first recruits entering school in the fall of this year. The Hatters aren't talking about simply rowing a few lightweight fours, however, they're going full bore - a goal of 9 to 10 rowers and coxswains this fall and 5 the following three years. are available. Looks like newly hired coach Chris Thomas will head up the program and he is the main recruiting contact. I guess UCF will have to pay a little closer attention to what's happening up I-4. In a short time they'll no longer be able to wake up each January 1st as the new year's Florida state lightweight champions!

Digging into the Everything is Connected File, we see that the Stetson head coach, Chris Deatrick, and an assistant, Jessica Clark, are both UCF grads. In fact Deatrick rowed as a lightweight at UCF and coached at UCF, including one year as the head lightweight coach. It seems a pretty safe bet that UCF's success helped convince the Stetson athletic department to add lightweights.

It seems to me that women's lightweight rowing is really starting to gain momentum. We had an exciting, highly competitive IRA Regatta last year, Tulsa added varsity lightweights, Alabama went varsity with the intention of keeping lightweights, Pitt is suddenly a national force in fours, the Radcliffe novices were blowing away heavyweights last fall, the slumbering lightweights at MIT are beginning to stir, and a lightweight coach is heading up the CRCA lightweight committee. Things are good and they're getting better!

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rowing Science Reviews the Slater Paper

You may have read the abstract of " Influence of Nutrient Intake after Weigh-In on Lightweight Rowing Performance" and wondered just what exactly was going on there. Fortunately Rowing Science has provided a nice review of the paper along with some good comments. You may have noticed that the USRowing lightweight presentation referred to research done by G.J. Slater (slides 12 and 25), one of the authors (I believe) of this paper.

Rowing Science raises some important questions about how the subjects in the study lost weight and what that might mean to the results, as well as the suggestion that it be repeated with women since there could well be gender differences that would have an effect.

The conclusion:

So it is interesting work. Food for thought (pardon the pun). But carry on as normal - after weigh in replace fluids and take on some nutrients.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

IRA Participation

It's been an awfully slow winter and rather than see how long I can sit on an erg before I hurt my back, I decided to take a look at who's been racing at IRAs.

I looked at 1997 through 2006 with the exception of 1998 (there seem to be no records from that year although I thought I saw them once), so it's a period of nine years, with the one break. It will surprise no one to hear that Radcliffe has raced at IRAs in every one of those years, since the Black and White are really the pioneers of collegiate lightweight women's rowing in the US. Perhaps a bit surprising however, is the fact that Wisconsin has also raced in each of those years. Surprising because I think we tend to think of the East coast schools as rowing forever while the western (west of Washington DC, that is) schools seem like relative newcomers. Wisconsin's tenure at the IRAs shows that dynasties aren't made overnight.

Princeton has raced eight times and Georgetown six. It's hard to remember that Wisconsin's program is older than Princeton's and Georgetown's is only two years younger. At five races come Villanova, UCF, and Stanford, a mix of the old and new. Villanova was quite a power in its day, which was really 1997 through 2000. Although the full results are missing, I do recall that Villanova won the national championship in 1998. Villanova lost its focus on lightweights and sunk into the morass of middling Dad Vail schools (attention class, that lesson will be on the final exam!).

In all, 30 schools have raced lightweight women at IRAs in those nine years. One can only wonder what happened to Mercyhurst who raced four times from 1999 to 2002. Will they ever be back? MIT, with a long lightweight tradition, has only raced twice. Some odd names show up as well, such as Brown and Virginia, two schools now known more for meat boats than for lightweights.

Over the nine year span, 90 boats raced (Wisconsin entered a B boat one year) for an average of ten entries per year. The number of entries per year has been quite variable, however, from a low of seven in 1999 to a high of fourteen in 2001. An average of 3 and a third boats drop each year while four new ones come on. For some reason 2001 and 2004 both saw a surge of a net four new boats racing. Since the field is now capped at 12 we won't see another fourteen entry year.

Of the thirty schools that entered boats over this period, nine only entered once and only nine (not the same nine) failed to make the grand final at least once. Of course making the grand has become harder in recent years. I've pointed out before that over the past ten years (including 1998) there have been four different national champions, a record the same as the heavy men and similar to the heavy women (they have five, I think). One other little surprise in the record is that in 2000, Radcliffe didn't make the final and finished 9th out of ten boats. Unusual for that program but a not unexpected sign of how difficult it is to maintain top finishes year in and year out.

Judging by these entries, the foundational programs of women's lightweight rowing stand out - Radcliffe, Wisconsin, Princeton, Georgetown, UCF, and Stanford. These are the key schools that make lightweight women's rowing work in the US (normally I'd put MIT in there too but their IRA attendance is pretty low). The names would be only slightly different ten years ago but I hope there will be many more on the list ten years hence. The fact that the average net change in boats each year is positive and the anecdotal evidence we see of varsity programs adding lightweights (e.g. Tulsa) are good signs for continued growth. The field is extremely competitive at the upper end and the days of near row overs are long gone. This year should be even better as crews normally relegated to the petites claw their way into the grand.

Speaking of this year, it's almost half way through January which means only about two months until racing begins. It's been so warm I wonder if they haven't already been rowing on Lake Mendota.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Word is Getting Out

This local newspaper story about a high school swim team focuses on a swimmer who also rows. She's a lightweight and as she discusses her indecision over which sport to pursue in college she says "A lot more schools are starting lightweight women's crew." It's good news for the sport when high school athletes see that lightweight rowing is in a growth spurt.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Kudos for Wisconsin

The Capital Times in Madison noted the Badgers national championship in its top stories of the year. It was a pretty good year for Wisconsin sports and, given that it was the third straight title for the lightweight women, it's easy to argue that they led the way.

New Year's Resolutions

Now that Fight in the Dog has been around for a year and a half, it's not a bad idea to reconnect with the purpose of this blog through the vehicle of New Year's resolutions. So here, in no particular order, are "JW Burk's" resolutions for 2007:

- FITD's mission will continue to be the support of the growth of collegiate lightweight women's rowing. FITD will cover the teams, races, and issues important to the sport and will be unapologetically biased in favor of lightweight women rowers.

- FITD will studiously try to avoid any bias in favor of particular teams. FITD has connections with several teams covered on these pages but an official relationship with none. FITD has been accused of bias in the past, but frequently for and against the same team, suggesting some measure of balance.

- FITD will be honest at all times. You'll never see a statement here that was known to be false when published. Statements later shown to be wrong will be corrected. Opinions will not be presented as facts. FITD will not shy away from expressing controversial opinions. Lightweight coaches face political pressure to moderate their opinions and the media faces loss of access if they buck the establishment. FITD has no rowing job to protect and no access to lose.

- FITD welcomes comments and suggestions. Every comment is read and many corrections and posts have resulted from comments. Discussions in the comments section of FITD have opened the eyes of coaches and officials and have an impact beyond the participants.

- FITD will get a design tweak. It may be only the colors, but this design has been in use for almost a year and the colors since inception. I don't have the time or the talent to do anything too radical, but it would be nice to see a little change. I've also been trying to add a mapping mashup that would contain sites important to lightweight rowing (race courses, boathouses, and schools) and be edited by you. I'm close, but haven't quite found the right application. Importantly, I'm trying to avoid registration since we've all enjoyed the fruits of anonymity. (Let me know if you have any suggestions.)