Steve Kish was kind enough to explain how the lightweight four event at the IRA came into being and how the invitees were selected for this year's exhibition race:
CRCA Lightweight Committee met over the winter and one of the initiatives that came of its meeting was the goal of increasing participation in the lightweight eight at the IRA. In addition to encouraging the eights to attend (good to see LMU and Long Beach coming this year), the thought was to also encourage programs that are still developing and perhaps racing the lightweight four, in the hopes that the experience would lead those programs to put together an eight for the next year. It is not meant to be exclusive nor do we think it is the perfect system and I am sure there are plenty of ways to look at the idea and poke holes in it. Long of the short is that a number of programs who have never raced at the IRA will be there this year. We’ll see where it goes from there.
It took a while to get the idea off the ground and definitely on the program. Very happy that the IRA (Gary Caldwell) was supportive and the CRCA lwt committee is very happy that they agreed, as are all the coaches I have been in contact with. It is an exhibition and we’ll see how it goes. It is a six boat straight final on Friday afternoon.
The initial idea was to invite the gold medalists from the A-10, WIRA, SIRA and Dad Vail. The other two spots were to be filled by the top lwt eights programs based on their finish from the previous IRA. So, that is Wisconsin and Georgetown .
Duquesne accepted the invite. LMU is coming in the eight, not in the four. Georgia could not accept as a result of scheduling conflicts. And Pitt is still working on their scheduling conflicts but we hope they will be able to come. The scheduling conflicts are a result of me not getting the word out soon enough. Hopefully, if all runs well this year, it will be something that everyone will be aware of right from the start next year.
Without the WIRA champ available as they are coming in the eight, the next idea was to invite the WIRA silver, but that is Long Beach and they are also coming in an eight. The decision was then made to simply find the most competitive non-IRA program and invite it. So the next one on the list was from the Dad Vail, and that is Lawrence . They have accepted. Brock was considered but the IRA would like to keep the regatta as a US championship, as is the general IRA as well as the NCAA, etc.
So, the sixth spot has been filled by Radcliffe, as they were third at last year’s IRA.
Stanford made a case for their four which won the PCRC’s. But, again, based on the spirit of what we were trying to do, it didn’t make sense to bring a VL4 from Stanford, when Stanford is also rowing a lwt eight. Radcliffe on the other hand, is being invited based on last year’s finish, similar to Wisconsin and Georgetown .
So, currently it is Duquesne, Lawrence , Wisconsin , Georgetown , Radcliffe and hopefully Pitt.