Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lightweights in Philadelphia

A reader wrote to note a new high school lightweight policy for the Pennsylvania Scholastic Rowing Association. A "Lightweight Certification Letter" is required of all lightweight rowers. The reader notes that this looks like a good policy, but some schools will probably choose not to race in some lightweight events to avoid the hassle, and goes on to say that "How to thread the needle and have safe weight policies that encourage natural lightweight seating in boats, while at the same time not creating an unreasonable liability hurdle for schools that will result in further dropping of lightweight participation, will be the task."

It's tempting to believe that those who can't be bothered probably also can't be bothered worrying about natural lightweights and safe weight management. That's likely to be wrong, however, and this is probably a case where rowers should take it upon themselves to remind coaches that they want to compete in lightweight events and are willing to bird-dog the letter through its hoops.

Also from Philadelphia, is a story about Temple's upcoming Murphy Cup races. It mentions Temple's light four race at the Keuper Cup in Florida. Temple also has a light eight entered at Murphy (more on that tomorrow). I think this is big news if Temple is getting serious about lightweight rowing, even if it's only for this year. It's a disgrace that there are no lightweight programs in the Philadelphia area, a hotbed of rowing. Some of the smaller Dad Vail schools could have a real impact if they focused on lightweights, instead of providing cannon fodder for the big heavyweight programs. In the Sprints League, Penn should clearly have lightweight women. Their heavyweight women have been mediocre and they have the example of the light men who had a surprisingly good season a few years ago. When the light men medaled at IRAs it was a surprise to even find the Penn name in a grand final.

Temple is a program that could focus on lightweights and almost immediately do damage on the national scene. They want to play with the big girls and that would get them there. We'll see what kind of success they have and where it takes them.


Anonymous said...

You're totally right. It is a disgrace that Philadelphia does not offer any lightweight racing possibilities. It forces people like me to transfer to schools where lightweights are taken seriously. It really is a shame.

Anonymous said...

The PSRA is home of the US Rowing Youth National Champions in Mount St. Joes and the Boys silver in the Prep with St Augustine having won the Scholastic Nationals. There are typically a number of fast HS girls and boys 8s and 4s each year.