Monday, June 04, 2007

Bucknell's Methods and Lightweight Rowing

Observers of women's lightweight rowing have to be wondering today what Bucknell's method of having heavyweights drop to lightweight for IRAs will mean for other programs. As I mentioned before, I was told that last year's Bucknell light eight had problems with weight. Bucknell's solution, apparently, was to race them as heavyweights and only require them to drop weight three times during the season (presumably timed for lulls in the competitive schedule).

I find two serious problems with this. First, Bucknell, which could lead the lightweight community, has instead chosen to use the lightweight community. While other programs spend the time and money necessary to create separate programs and race schedules separate from their heavies, Bucknell does none of that and simply goes pot hunting at IRAs. It's obvious, but worth saying, that if every other lightweight crew did what Bucknell does, there would be no lightweight league and no IRA championship. There would be no Dad Vail, Windermere, Knecht Cup, Crew Classic, ECAC (oops, that's already gone with Bucknell racing only heavyweights there), or Sprints lightweight events. While other programs put their blood, sweat, and money where their mouths are, Bucknell apparently sees the lightweight category as simply another way to burnish resumes.

Bucknell's manipulation of the category is further highlighted by the fact that last year, when the student newspaper was writing about the "light eight," the coaches asked the paper not to refer to them as lightweights, but to call them the "2V." Is this a program that supports lightweight rowing?

The second problem with the Bucknell method, is that the strategy of dropping heavyweights for key lightweight races is exactly the kind of thing for which the category is criticized and which the NCAA finds unsavory. Clearly the leaders of the lightweight category also find this unsettling. Last year, when I repeated the false rumor that in 2004 Wisconsin dropped two heavyweights into the light eight for IRAs, it was met with instantaneous and emphatic denial from the Badgers. UCF, although actually racing a lightweight schedule, was faced with the same opportunity as Bucknell to pull down some of their heavies into the light eight, but chose not to. For better or worse, the coaches there made the decision to allow their rowers to race in only one category. With Bucknell, however, we have a national champion who may not even field a lightweight eight next year. Will they have enough lightweights and near-lightweights to field a full eight? Will they be fast? If not, will they enter anyway in support of the category or will they take their ball and go home?

Let me quote instructions that went out from the CRCA lightweight committee with last year's new weigh-in rules:

The goal of the weigh-in documentation is to ensure that crews racing at the collegiate lightweight women's National Championship have been racing as lightweights with consistency throughout the season.

Clearly this procedure failed this year, and one must wonder if it needs to
be revised for next year.

While we're at it, let's dispose of the silly notion, put forth both last year and this, that Bucknell somehow makes faster lightweights by racing them as heavyweights. Any athlete would know this is spurious - it doesn't matter what your opponent is, it matters how fast your opponent is. Perhaps those making the argument are suggesting that no lightweights exist fast enough to challenge Bucknell, yet that was obviously not true last year, and this year when Bucknell raced the Princeton lights, a crew that just pushed them to the limit, they raced heavyweights. Is that supporting the category?

Bucknell is at a crossroads; it can become a leader of lightweight women's rowing or it can continue to ride on the back of the programs that actually do support and maintain the sport.

What's it gonna be?

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why are we trying to knock down the Bucknell program? They have a fast team, a growing team. As someone wrote in the last comment to the last posting... "The women in the Bucknell boat rowed and raced at weight over the course of the spring season just like all of the other crews in the grand final." Let's get over it and simply congratulate a fast lwt eight. If another program wants to go faster than them, I'm sure they will be working hard over the summer. How about we quit all the yapping. Bucknell didn't even have the opportunity to practice together as a crew during the season. They didn't have a JV or Frosh lwt eight to draw from like Pton, Gtown or Rad. Kudos to them for having a fast overall program, for giving their lwts a chance to row with the "big dogs" in the V8, JV8, etc. and win medals at the ECAC Metro and even compete against the openweights from Penn, Dartmouth and Princeton. What a great experience for them! And then, to let them come together and compete against the all of the other lwt crews in the country, and WIN, with poise and class. If you saw them, would know that they were not nearly as long or tall as the Gtown or Pton girls. Rowing lower, with Pton, or in the lead, for the entire race. If you saw the weigh-in forms you would see that they were 122 to 128. If you listened to the race announcer you would have heard how much he was complimenting the Bucknell boat on how well they were rowing. For these women to race competitively as a boat for the first time, and to win their heat and then take home the gold... WOW. If you can't beat'em, have some class and don't knock'em. To Bucknell's full program...and to their lwt eight...Congrats.

Anonymous said...

I used to like this website. I used to read it on weekly basis. Yet after this artical it is apparent to me that it is complete garbage and not worth my time.

I coach lightweight collegiate women and during the season I mix them with open weights to field our fastest possible V8. I guess I'm a bad coach.

I can't beleive they let you write the lightweight womens preview in the IRA program.

Great job Bucknell!

Anonymous said...

J.W. Why this blog? I totally find this uncalled for and actually think you should apologize to the girls and coach of Bucknell.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think you have many of your facts wrong. From what I know, only one girl went over weight during the year and had no problem dropping the extra weight. They did not "pull" girls from the heavyweights and starve them. To suggest they did is irresponsible and a lie.
These girls WON the race based on their great coaching, superb technique, determination and strength. To take that away from them is beyond disgusting!
Just because your favorites did not win is no reason for you to try to take away Bucknell's glory.
You should say you're sorry.

Anonymous said...

While I must give credit where credit is due it is hard for me as a lightweight rower to be completely happy with a national champion that did not race a lightweight race all year. Bucknell is obviously a fast crew and deserved to win, no one can take that away from them. What I don't understand is why everyone thinks that rowing in the openweight boats is so much better than rowing in a lightweight boat all year. To quote the previous comments about rowing in open boats, "What a great experience for them." I only see it as a good experience if you are racing faster crews. In Bucknell's case I think that this was the case but why not race your lightweight boat against the same teams. This is going to make them faster and let them race as a boat. Who knows how fast they could have been if they has rowed together all year. Why does it always seem like the lightweights are the first to get moved around for the betterment of the rest of the team?Does being light mean we don't work as hard, that we are less of an athlete, or that we are on rosters just to fill out the rest of the open boats.

I understand that the majority of programs focus on their openweight teams but why do the lightweights have to suffer in the process? I think UCF has the right attitude, they may have sacrificed what everyone is calling a faster boat but in the long run they are commited to establishing a lightweight program. They have moved into the age where they do not need to pass athletes from one team to the other. This year may have been a building year for them but if you look at the boat they raced this year you will see how young they were. Just think how fast they may be if they continue to row together for the next two years. JW Burk keep up the good work, even though some people may not realize that this is a blog and you are not shying away from the tough questions, there are some of us out there that appriciate what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

JW Burk, thank you for this posting. You are right on.

Anonymous said...

JW Burk. We love you!!! Yay JW Burk. The savior of women's lwt rowing!!!! It never existed before you came along :).

Anonymous said...

As a coach I definitely checked out your blog a fair amount of time during the year to get a pulse check on lw rowing, but after this post I'm glad this is your last year. Thanks for all the time you have put into furthering lightweight rowing, but to write a post like this degrading our national champion is a new low.

Anonymous said...

Great job Bucknell!
JW, do you think they had an unfair edge or did they deserve their win? I'm not sure about the tone of your blog.

I usually enjoy reading your blogs and do agree with many of them, but this is whole put-down is very unjustified. These girls rowed well and won; just because they didn't compete in all the other lw races, doesn't take that away from them. Please!

Wisconsin Lightweight said...

Our program requires that each rower weigh in with athletic training staff before 2-3 randomly chosen practices each week. We must maintain an average weight of 131# and a maximum weight of 133.0# in order to be eligible to compete. On race day, whether racing as openweights or lightweights, we must be at 130.0 or less to be allowed to race. This program is designed so that the most weight we have to drop on race day is about 1#. When we bring people over (not down) from the openweight team they have to make the transition either during the winter training season (usually at semester break) or over the summer and they are required to prove that they can conform to the lightweight weigh in contract before they are allowed to race. And in case anyone should think that the coaches and trainers could just look the other way, we had 1 girl kicked off the team in the fall for an inability to make weight, and 2 more deemed ineligable to race this spring.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you THINK you “know” things. “I was told that last year’s Bucknell light eight had problems with weight.” You are as good as a tabloid. Nice work.

It sounds so silly for you to say Bucknell is pot hunting. If you thought they were “pot hunting” you would have seeded them closer to the “pot.” You didn’t think they had a chance. If they finished fifth or sixth, you wouldn’t be posting any of this. But they win, putting together a boat faster than anyone else. Without being able to practice together all year. With their best finish being sixth (14.5 seconds out of first) last year. I asked the coach myself and he said they raced three times. Twice as a lwt eight, against Temple and Radcliffe 2VL and once as two lwt fours. He also said they did their required weigh-ins at a variety of races, even at the ECAC Metro. Obviously, they were lights. Or at least that is “what I heard.”

If I was a program like LMU, or Lehigh, I would be very encouraged. You obviously don’t NEED separate lightweight coaches, separate equipment, separate racing schedule, to go fast. You don’t need a jv lwt 8 or frosh lwt 8. Heck, you don’t even need to come in top five. You need a great program that produces speed, in any shape or size. If I am a Lehigh or LMU rower (among others), I can’t wait for next year. I’m going to train and dream.

If I am Princeton, Wisconsin, Radcliffe, Georgetown, I am going to work harder. Figure out where I can find more speed.

Wow, sounds like Bucknell is having a positive influence on women’s lwt rowing.

If you saw the pictures on row 2k, or were there to see them in person, they weren’t that tall and certainly weren’t cut. The announcer calling the race sure seemed to think they were rowing very well, an actually lower than the competition.

If I am a lwt woman, and I come from a fast program, I only have a few schools to compete against. But, if I row against openweights, I can compete against many more. I want to compete and go fast and push myself. Does that mean I need to race Princeton and Wisconsin every weekend? Nope. I’ll compete against openweight programs. Or, in the case of a small program like Bucknell, that does not have resources that the other programs do, I’ll race in the openweight boats.

You claim to be working to spread the word of women’s lightweight rowing. Most of what you do is take misinformed potshots at it. From what I can remember, you started out ok, but then you have become a punch line. For you to “reveal” yourself at this point would be too embarrassing. I’m sorry this is where you are.

Anonymous said...

In the past years, Bucknell's priority has been the Patriot League Championship, and rightfully so. They are a Patriot League school and race Patriot League boats to gain points for the school toward the President Cup. Therefore, a V8, 2V8, and V4 must be formed to be the fastest boats possible, regardless of weight. Until the end of April, this is the priority. Bucknell has won the title 2 years in row, by mixing LWs (legit LWs who start weighing in in the fall) and opens. If you want to continue to criticize Bucknell- whoever you are- maybe think about criticizing the Patriot League, since this is the priority and foundation of the school. Of course now that the school is gaining recognition, it will surely go on to compete in national championships, but for now, the team focuses on that Patriot League squad, top down. There is no use in trying to analyze the outcome and find flaws in Bucknell's program. The team trains hard for the entire process, not the outcome, and it obviously works.

Anonymous said...

Settle Down Everyone!
There has been and always will be legitimate complaints / questions raised on both sides of this argument, But does any of it really matter?

I personally spoke with nearly Every Bucknell Rower over the 3 days at IRA's and well over 50% of the other LW's and EVERYONE of them Deserved to be there and EVERYONE of them rowed their Hearts out.

My blood doesn't bleed Red on race day, But I know an awesome performance when I see one. So even though Bucknell was not who I wanted to win, There is no doubt in my mind that they not only did so but did so Convincingly.

If I had to make an Uniformed argument against Bucknell it would HAVE been to ask , Why when they rowed @ Princeton in the spring, didn't they row the Full LW8 as they did the prior week. But, having spoke to the Coach several times @ IRA's and hearing his reasoning , that question is no longer relevant nor is this whole Bucknell Bashing post. And if I heard him correctly, there were at least a few LW's in the boat that did race, but his other reasons for racing the schedule as he did were more then adequate for me. Not that my opinion matters.

Would I like to see them race a Full, True LW schedule? Sure who wouldn't and maybe with this performance and the support it will raise, in the future they will. Even if they choose not to There is No justification to say that they are undeserving of this victory.

You said Princeton doesn't have a sprint, technically they Don’t, but what they had was enough to hold off Wiscos legendary one. Does that mean Wisco should have won the Silver because they were about to overtake Princeton who Doesn't have a finish line Sprint? That’s just absurd.

There were a lot of sad faces on that awards dock and in the staging area as well , but I am certain if you ask Every other LW rower who raced Not one of them would feel Bucknell’s performance was anything but amazing and certainly NOT undeserved.

How this effects LW rowing in the future is above my Pay Scale, But I cant see how having a sometimes contender winning is anything but Positive for the sport as a whole. Just as how, perennial 4th place Georgetown’s phenomenal season last year had nothing but positive effects across the league and the sport as a whole.

Burke makes a few Good points, though his delivery was lacking this time. Only time will tell how Bucknell and other similar programs continue to develop and respond but my guess is next season will see More LW races then ever and possibly even Bucknell at Sprints! For a Fun 6 boat heat.

Bottom line? - Lighten up All - there is always next Year and we will see if Bucknell was / is an anomaly or as I believe a true LW contender and a well run program utilizing their resources as best as they can

Anonymous said...

I don't know what your beef is with Bucknell, but you owe the women an apology. To try to diminish the glory of thier win is deplorable, and makes you look like a fool.

Great job Bison - Congratulations

JW Burk said...

This post is not about the Bucknell athletes so please don't try to make it into that. I separated this from the previous post, which was about the rowers. They were an outstanding crew, did an excellent job, and deserve their gold medal - no one said otherwise. This post is about the management of the program and leadership.

Everyone who reads this blog knows of my position on Bucknell's management of the program. It would have been hypocritical of me not to mention it now. I have asked the Bucknell coach why he operates the way he does and received no reply. Last year I offered the Bucknell coach a post to rebut what I say and received no reply. This year I asked the Bucknell coach if he had lightweights to race and received no reply. I have asked all of these things, looking for an explanation, and have never received a reply. I'm sure Bucknell thinks it's beneath them to reply to a silly blogger and I have no problem with that. I've looked for the facts, received no repsonse, and so go with what I see and with what I'm told.

No one here, or anywhere, has offered a logical reason why it is good for lightweight women's rowing for the top team in the league to race only once each year. I have no problem with the ad hominem attacks, but recognize that my main argument stands unrebutted.

I say again, this has nothing to do with the Bucknell rowers, so comments about them are red herrings. If you believe that lightweights should only race once each year, tell me why and tell me how the category will survive.

Anonymous said...

JW Burk, you hit the nail on the head. Bucknell girls should not be taking this personally. There is no way that lightweight women's rowing can survive and thrive if boats do not race "lightweight" all season. If the other crews were to follow suit, what would be the incentive of the IRA to even have a lightweight women's category? I think if a team wants to race as lightweight, they should commit to the category fully.

Anonymous said...

I hate to agree with JW but he has some valid points.
So what's the solution to them?
You could get all the Lightweight coaches together and have them agree on some simple rules and scheduling guidelines. Such as, you must race X amount of lightweight races per season as a Full LW8 to qualify for the IRA's. But in doing this would you actually help or hurt LW rowing?

If Bucknell had this 8 available all year why didn’t they race as an 8? I see no problem with LW's racing the Opens as long as the boat is a Full Lw boat.
Which brings up the question of, was this a case of them pulling a few LW's to fill out an open 8 that couldn’t be fielded for a race and if that was the case, judging by the IRA races couldn’t Bucknell’s LW8 beat every other boat the Bucknell Opens might have raced against this season?
Other LW programs let their boats race against the opens and often they win. But they do it as a Full LW8.
Where I disagree is trying to take away this victory from them - they Won it fair and square - give them credit where its do - and let the Coaches sort out the red tape. If there is any.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I think it would be really classy if everyone just left it at Congratulations to the lwt women. It is getting deeper and more competitive. The spread from first to sixth was the smallest of the past three years and perhaps ever. Event is growing. Congrats to Bucknell.

Let’s let the programs enjoy their season instead of being such opportunists.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a JW Burke became upset that Bucknell's coach wouldn't take his blog seriously and answer his questions. From what i hear, (translation: what i believe is true based on a gut feeling that i will now publish) JW Burke may have written a more positive article about Bucknell or at least waited more than 2 days to write this nasty piece if he weren't holding a grudge against Bucknell. It's funny that Mr. Burke is so jaded by Bucknell's coaching practices. The pictures of the ATHLETES getting their gold medals on the awards dock show 9 beaming smiles and a goofy, proud grin on their coach's face. These 10 athletes had an amazing season, from their patriot league and ECAC gold medals to their season finale at IRA's. They are strong, high quality rowers because they are a product of their program and the hard work that went into this program. They trained and rowed to help the growth of Bucknell Women's Rowing. And they grew stronger and faster as a result. These true light weight rowers are not jaded, Mr. Burke. If you claim to be supporting these athletes, then why are you?

Dan said...

tremdendous congrats to Bucknell.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat new to women's Lightweight rowing. Ihave a few a couple of questions:

1. What criteria exists for a school to enter a boat in the IRAs Women's Lightweights? If no criteria exists then could NCAA champ Brown University enter a lightweight boat at IRAs (without previously racing a Lightweight boat that season) if Brown had 8 rowers & a cox that were under the required weight?

2. What is the weight limit for college Lightweights? Is it 130 or 135?

3. Were there more college women's Lightweight teams before the NCAA assumed control over women's rowing? If so approximately how many women's Lightweight teams once existed prior to the NCAA intervention?

4. Did the NCAA ever consider incorporating Lightweight rowing? If so, what details do you have? Any chance that the NCAA will soon incorporate women's Lightweight rowing?

5. Prior to the NCAA assuming women's Heavyweight rowing were all of the women's rowing champs decided at the IRA or was there a separate championship for women's rowing??

6. What do you believe the future of college women's Lightweight rowing? will there be more or less college Light teams in 5 years?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Bucknell on an awewsome year and national championship.

JW - You are reprehensible. You have shown your true colors. It is time you say who you really are and end this crap you call a positive blog about LW rowing. If you don't, you are truly classless.

Anonymous said...

The only real issue with Bucknell not racing other ltwt eights this spring is that it threw off the seeding for the heats.

They had a great performance and it was good to see someone new wearing gold.

Anonymous said...

I agree with that this article is worse than a tabloid. JW Burke makes it seem like the boat consisted of a bunch of heavyweights who had to dangerously crash-cut weight from time to time. The girls are required to weigh in and get body fat percentages taken early in the year to determine their safe minimum weight, and if they have to lose weight they are required to gradually and safely lose it throughout the year, not cut it at the last second. So even if they weren't racing lightweight, all of those girls were still lightweights all year. So if you're going to have a reasonable debate about the coaching methods and racing schedules, at least get your facts straight, don't intentionally skew them or flat out lie in order to make your side of the story sound better.

I know all of this because I am a four-year rower on the Bucknell men's team and my girlfriend is in the lightweight boat. I was there to see her pass the finish line first at IRA's and I'm incredibly proud of her - plus it's pretty sweet to be dating a national champion. Normally I could care less about this blog, but I found this post offensive and felt the need to speak up on her behalf. I have no idea how widely read this blog is, but I seriously hope it isn't regarded as a reliable or objective news source. It seems far too tainted by some bizarre personal vendetta (Somebody at Bucknell pay attention to my blog! Please?? Pretty please?? I'm so lonely....) to be any good.

Thank you and have a nice day (and/or stop writing your blog).

Anonymous said...

1. Bucknell raced a great race Saturday. It was a decisive victory
2. However, questions about Bucknell’s commitment to lightweight rowing are not unfounded and should not be construed as insulting to the athletes.
3. Tricks Bucknell used this season- like claiming not to have enough lightweights to field an 8 and asking established lightweight teams to agree to race the Bucknell “opens” , - will only work once….This is the program that weighed in against Temple and demanded that its own student paper stop referring to the team as lightweights. So to quote JW- what’s it gonna be?
4. Talk about cheap shots- calling the blog a tabloid is a cheap shot. Remember the DAM? We would never have known the truth if it weren’t for this blog site. If you were around last year- you know what I’m talking about!
5. To the Bucknell athletes- great job, congratulations!
6. To the Bucknell coach- you have a great chance here to make a difference. Time to ball up! If you care about this sport as a category and not just your stepping stone, you have the opportunity to make a difference. You are coming in as king. I guess all coups require a certain level of …planning. You are there now. So the question is - what are you going to do for the sport that crowned you?

Anonymous said...

well said!

Anonymous said...

New theory - maybe JW's obsession with lightweight rowing stems from personal failures and weight-related problems? Angry with the Bucknell lightweights for being a slim, attractive 130 lbs and for winning IRAs, he has no choice but to write useless, disgruntled blog entries about them...

Anonymous said...

Four-year Bucknell men's rower again - regarding calling the blog a tabloid - I've never read the thing before and I have no idea what "the DAM" is. But I don't really care, the most recent post was still pretty worthless.

Anonymous said...

In case you didnt notice - all the ltwts were slim attracitve and under 130- not just Bucknell's. If you looked at this blog longer than a week or two you would hardly call it useless, and if you really paid attention it can hardly be discribed as disgruntled. What do you want? Bucknell won fair and square- they desrved it with the race they delivered on Saturday. But that does not mean the other issues and the questions about Bucknel are pointless. I guess "pulling a Bucknell" means something different now that they are on top. But in my opinion that only makes the questions for the Bucknell coach more relevant and important. If you had been reading along you would get it...don't worry if you are really intersted you can go back and see. Nothing disgruntled about it. Silly sometimes and sometimes tedious--- but always committted to ltwt womens rowing...just like Bucknell right????

Anonymous said...

this was a great entry! what makes this blog great is that jw is willing to discuss controversial, but important, topics in lightweight rowing that everyone else will only talk about behind closed doors

Anonymous said...

Give me a break... "JW is willing to discuss controversial" etc. She promotes anonymous, hyperbolic, uninformed commentary. What could be a great place for supporters and future collegiate lwt rowers to visit, has become an embarrassing side show that makes the lwt community look like a bunch of back-stabbing hyeenas. Did I spell hyeenas right? Could we possibly clean it up and move on? Everyone, please. How about something worthwhile "JW"?

Anonymous said...

Actually JW, as much as your recent blog about Bucknell ticked me off, I have to say I will miss you.

Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

'Ray Bucknell!

Congratulations to the lightweight boat and the entire team for an outstanding season! Keep working hard, and keep rowing up!

Anonymous said...

It's time for a " Sit Down"
Bring the Heads of the 5 Families together, invite the Cousins, issue the contracts, Whack who needs whacking and get on with Lightweight Women’s Rowing!!.
I am sure, all whose opinions matter on this issue have already spoken about it amongst themselves before, during and since the IRA's and I am also sure, if in fact this issue is Important to them, much more will be said. If it is Not, then No more should be said about it.
Maybe, it is time to end the Anonymity of this forum and let the Powers that be ( the Coaches, A.D.’s. And the E.C.A.C. etc.) Openly voice their Opinion on the issue, if in fact there are any who read this forum., and there is an issue that needs to be discussed and solved in an Open Forum like this.
I had to reread the original post several times before I realized JW was more or less right, as were those who opposed his views. At first I thought it was mean spirited and unfairly against the Girls of Bucknell, But after reading it and the responces several times, I realised it is NOT about the Bucknell Rowers , But solely aimed at the Coaches and the other Powers that be, Who for better or Worse allowed it to happen. And may choose to do so in the future as well.
Both sides have made strong arguments but if you take the Rowers out of the equation and focus Only on the issue raised "How this will effect LW Rowing in the future" , I think you will see it has merit. And can be argued from both sides effectively.
I have mixed opinions on the issue, but am leaning towards JW’s - which I believe is - If you’re a LW8 then Row as a LW8 and race other LW8's as your primary focus. But, on the other hand I don’t see racing Opens when the opportunity is available as detrimental to LW Rowing at all, as Long as your First priority and schedule is designed to race other LW8s.
What the powers that be choose to do about it in next few months, hopefully will be a decision that benefits all. That includes the " Deep Pocket" Schools as well as the Start ups.
Even the so called "Old Established" schools of Women's LW Rowing are Fairly Young so I dont see tradition or elitism as having any place in this argument. I am also confident they have the sports best interests in whichever way they choose to go

So with that said - Congrats Bucknell on an Awesome race and HOPEFULLY you wont end up “ Sleeping with the Fishes” in the off season and we get to see you for a rematch and several pre-IRA races as well

Anonymous said...

I am with everyone, this is a very disappointing blog. When I heard about Bucknell I was very excited for them! They were the underdog in this race, and I think that our friend here got everything the opposite.

Bucknell is helping the lightweight community grow. In the past this race has not had enough boats to fill two finals! Bringing in lightweights who also happen to be strong enough to compete in the open weight category is a smart move and will help make this lightweight race grow more competitive! In lightweight no one can be above a certain weight, so how can this be unfair to any lightweight team?

If anything is unfair, it is the second eight category for open weights that is possibly increasing in competition from more lightweights competing. I say this is rowing, college rowing to be exact.

Let the fastest crew win, congratulations Bucknell!

Anonymous said...

Hey JW, thanks for everything. I think your goal in spreading the word about lightweight women's crew was more than accomplished. Look, there's dialogue now where before there may have been no talk about lwt rowing at all. We'll miss the updates and the information you brought us.

Good luck in the future with whatever you'll tackle next.

-a 130lb friend.

Anonymous said...

JW thank you for all your contributions. As a ltwt rower who is aware of the many of the opinions on my large team about your blog, as well as some of the opinions of athletes at other schools, I suspect that many of the people who objected so strongly to your blog are not, in fact, athletes. Most rowers I know believe that your blog has been a boon to women's lightweight rowing, and you will certainly be missed.

To everybody who has a problem with the post about Bucknell, you're missing the point. Putting good lightweight rowers in an openweight boat all season instead of allowing them to race in a full V8 and then forming a ltwt 8 at the last second to race in IRA's is not in the spirit of lightweight rowing. It prioritizes Bucknell's openweight boat over lightweights. In light of the team's new status as national champions, the coaches have a responsibility to those talented lightweight rowers and to the lightweight community in general to allow those rowers to compete as lightweights all season, instead of using them in the openweight V8 until the last minute.

Obviously if these ltwt rowers are fast enough to compete with openweight teams, that's great. But as somebody commented earlier, that should be in a ltwt V8 instead of mixed in with openweights, if Bucknell is truly to uphold the spirit of lightweight rowing as a national champion should.

Congratualations to all the Bucknell athletes!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are folks that want to rebut that last post. But, just let it go. It is okay for people to have different opinions. Have a great summer.

sam said...

nothing against the bucknell girls, but congrats for turning the IRA women's lightweight eight into a post-Patriot League, post-openweight season afterthought. that goes on the administration. sure, bucknell is doing what is best for its program, but i think the bucknell supporters are no longer interested in the viability or inherent worth of women's lightweight rowing. the carte blanche denunciations of JWB show a lack of critical thinking.

Anonymous said...

I must say, that I am sad you have decided to give up. I think people need to realize that although this is a great resource for information about women's lightweight rowing, it is still a blog. Therefore as the author of the blog your are entitled to post your opinion. As a lightweight and a coach with an up and coming lightweight program, I would like to see this aspect of the sport taken more seriously so it can expand and become more of a staple in the rowing community. I also understand that some programs need to do what is necessary to succeed throughout their season. I don't find it wrong to row lightweights "across" in a heavyweight boat for the betterment of the team. I actually find it a compliment that lightweights are rowing so well as to compete with heavyweights at such a competitive level. If you'll notice I used the word "across" as stated in another comment. It is not a move up or down to go from a heavywight boat to a lightweight boat. Each boat of a team is an important aspect to the overall success of a program. Many people might simply say that lightweights move down due to the weight difference, but it is simply not a proper phrase. Varsity, lightweight, jv, and novice boats all must contribute to the best of their ability to push one another and ensure program success. No rower should think they are less of an athlete due to their "status." We all contribute.
Once again, I am sad that you have decided to give up. Your blog has been very informative and well informed. It is unfortunate that others do not understand freedom of opinion.
~Goodbye

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the bloggin, JW, and your love of lightweight rowing. Your opinions will be missed! Good luck out there.

Anonymous said...

The weigh-in procedure at IRA's is the problem. If you weigh-in 44 hours or so before the grand final, you allow heavyweights to suck down to 130lbs.

Of course, the lightweight coaches decided on the weigh-in rules.

I was not there, but I was told Saturday afternoon that a number of those women were not lightweights Saturday afternoon.

If the weigh-in was done by international standards, you might have a different national champion.

I read this blog periodically and find it amusing. I agree with you on this one.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't putting a 127 pound rower, who happens to be one of the top 8 fastest on the squad, in the light eight instead of the V8 automatically prioritize the light eight over the V8? In that case, by bringing the 9th fastest into the V8, you are sacrificing boat speed in that boat in the interest of the light eight. For as much as you complain about taking talent from the light eight into the V8, your solution creates the same issue in the openweight eight. This is not fair to the program as a whole- to not put the fastest 8 rowers in the boat that will compete in the fastest races. The reason the category is "Openweight" and not "Heavyweight" is that it is weight blind and open to anyone who will make the boat move faster. Bucknell has moved from the bottom of the barrel to the national stage (in the V8 and light eight) in two short years, and they are right to put their CRCA all-region rowers in the V8, even if they happen to weigh under 130 pounds.

Nobody works harder than the Bucknell girls. The entire coaching staff and rowers are to be commended on an amazing season and wished the best as they continue to push themselves to a new level.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody works harder than the Bucknell girls"
Really?

Not Yale or USC or Brown or UVA or Minnesota...

Anonymous said...

Will miss your blog. I logged on every day to see what was new and your take on whatever it was. I may not have always agreed with what you had to say, but it was always informative and usually promoted more thought and discussion on any subject. I agree that this was YOUR blog and you are entitled to your opinion. My apologies for the many attacks. Wish you would keep it going....but best wishes in whatever you do. Thanks for all the information over the course of the blog. Go Lightwieghts!

Anonymous said...

"Nobody works harder than the Bucknell girls"
Really?

Probably. Why would you question this? Why would you think Yale, etal, would work harder?

Huh?

Anonymous said...

"I was not there, but I was told Saturday afternoon that a number of those women were not lightweights Saturday afternoon."

How dare you accuse a team of sucking weight. You were not there on Saturday, and therefore you have no right to suggest something that you do not know as fact. All of the girls were at or under 130.

Why can't you just congratulate the new national champion?

It is people who think like you that give lightweight rowing a bad rap.

Anonymous said...

Well I was there, I was also there on Thursday at the Practice Weigh-Ins, The Assigned time Team Weigh-ins as well as the Re-Weigh-Ins. Which More then a few Rowers from a few Teams Needed to utilize.
Was Bucknell one of the teams that Needed to Re-Weigh-in? Which team had more then one Rower who Needed to Jog around the River? Which team had none? Who cares !
Im not a Carnival Weight Guesser but I would say that maybe a few of the 96 LW Rowers Put on a few pounds after making weight, And once again, Who Cares
Every Rower has the "Advantage” of Gaining a Few Pounds after making weight, but you are talking about Less then 48 Hours from Weigh in to Finals! So how much are they really going to gain? While rowing at least one Heat at 7AM, Possibly a 2nd in the afternoon and a Final the next afternoon.
All that matters is - EVERY girl who rowed made Weight at her designated time - Period - End of Discussion.

The Thursday ONLY Weigh-in’s Was Unanimously Agreed to After the Tragedy at 05 Vails, which at the time was thought to be Solely Weight Loss Related. And Will stay this way well into the foreseeable Future if not permanently. For those who were at the 05 EAWRC Sprints which took place the very next day, they will remember how Lax the Weigh-In’s were and the Several “ Close Enoughs” Granted that day.
.
The Thursday ONLY weigh-in’s Work they are Safe, Fair and Practical.
130 Pounds was an arbitrary Weight picked whenever it was picked, Should it be higher? Lower? Who knows, but Do you really believe a 20 year old Girl who Weighs 132 has that much more advantage?
You really need a better argument then Weight to offset the fact that Bucknell Kicked ASS

Let this be the FINAL post as the arguments are becoming stupid
Bucknell Won - End of story

Anonymous said...

Once again, people are missing the point. The criticism of Bucknell is not aimed at the athletes. Rather, why does the program choose to field a LW8 only at the end of the season, and not seriously attempt to race it through the season.

If they want to pull up the fast lightweights into the 1V, or even the 2V, they have that option. But let them stay in those boats, as they do at UCF and many other programs. Don't form a LW8 at the end of the season as an afterthought.

Burk is right that lightweight racing will not continue as a category if teams don't race as lightweights during the season.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty amazing reading all these posts at the overwhelming majority of you are completely missing the point. People have discussed topics from which teams work harder to does an additional two pounds give another rower an advantage.

Bucknell's women rowed a great race. They should certainly be congradulated. All the athletes competing in IRAs should be congradualted for their hard work and dedication to an incredibly demanding sport. Take nothing away from what these kids accomplished.

Having said that, women's lightweight rowing has a national champion that only competed in that category once during the year. That can't be good for the sport, which certainly has it's challenges.

Is there a solution? Are we focusing in on a problem that really isn't there?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the way Bucknell managed it's season. It can certainly be viewed as unethical, however, it's not against the rules.

Congrats to all the competitors at IRA!

Anonymous said...

I have found this blog very helpful and informative. What a great resource to get information and exchange ideas and opinions. Wish you would keep it going…

Anonymous said...

ditto the comments above.
JWB, please don't leave FITG!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, keep it going! We need you as a resource!

Anonymous said...

JWB
As for rowing blogs, I've now tried the rest, and, now more than ever, I miss the best!
Encore! Encore!

Anonymous said...

JW. Stop sending messages to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Meghan, stop reading these comments.

Make it Rain.

Lights Out.

Anonymous said...

JW,
You've been a great "cheering section for athletes who normally race their guts out in front of only their teammates and, occasionally, their parents."
Obviously, I am not alone in hoping that you'll reconsider after a bit of a summer hiatus.

Anonymous said...

JW COME BACK!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi JWB!
Not everyone here missed the point of your comments re: Bucknell. We know it wasn't about the rowers, but rather the philosophy of LW vs Open.
Please keep the blog going... You're the best source of research and thoughtful observation in LW rowing.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the Bucknell athletes for the impressive row and successful season. That being said though, the Bucknell coaching staff should be ashamed of their actions. Pulling athletes from your first boat into a lower boat (by that program's standards) for the sake of a championship is a disgrace. Really it is very simple, if this was a priority boat then it should have been raced all season. Race them in openweight events if you want, however keep them as a squad that regularly races other boats in their category (and don't try to rationalize that racing once makes it the priority boat). Frankly, this is no different than when Dowling broke its top eight into fours (and people were upset), or when Army was putting out 2V8's that were faster than the V8 (and people were upset), or even when Stanford broke down into a four and pair last year (and people were upset). It's pot hunting plain and simple.

I understand the pressure that is placed on a collegiate coach to bring results in the V8 (I was one myself). With that understanding I can see why you would want to create a V8 that is the fastest combination possible and support doing so during the major events (Patriot Leagues, ECAC's, etc...). However to only create a lightweight boat for one race at the end of the year denigrates the category and further substantiates the concept that it is a throw away event that does not need to be included in the season.

On a side note, it is truly amazing how few of you bothered to read Burke's post with any form of critical thought. It is obvious that the post was aimed at the coaches practices. The athletes did a great job this season and no one in their right mind can take away from that. For fellow athletes to be so emotionally involved as to not be capable of seperating criticism of ethical practice versus criticism of athletic performance is stunning. Furthermore, for "coaches" to come on and support Burke's leaving because you feel this post was unwarranted shows your own ethical compass and how long our sport's coaches have felt beyond reproach from the public as compared to other sports.

As for the young soul who thinks women's rowing is "openweight" because they do not care how much you weigh.....grow up. They named it that because the NCAA feels your delicate psyche couldn't tolerate being called heavy. Personally, I would find that reasoning to be far more insulting than anything posted on this board.

Anonymous said...

Folks on here need to find a better way to spend their time. It's summer. Get on with it. What did we ever do without FITD? Better things. That's what we used to do. It is great that people have opionions. If you need validation from anonymous supporters, for your opinions, than FITD is for you. Heck, JW doesn't even need to post anymore. People can just keep it going on this Comment link for years to come. Let's see if we can get to 100 hits before the end of the summer! On with the anyonymous criticism!

Anonymous said...

I love that the last post stated. . ."Folks on here need to find a better way to spend their time. It's summer. Get on with it." Yet, took the time to actually post something. Think about it, that person posted something telling everyone else to "get on with it." A post that was designed to discourage postings. That there are better ways to use our time. The poster also makes comments about "anonymous supporters" and lists his/herself as anonymous.

Fantastic post and possibly the most hypocritical thing I have ever read. It's almost impossible to actually write something that completely contradicts everything you are writing. Please write more. That was very amusing.

Anonymous said...

Man, I sure do miss this site. Will somebody step up and start a blog where we can continue to discuss lW rowing?

Anonymous said...

JW, please keep the blog going. With the fall season around the corner we need you!

Anonymous said...

JW, I've checked out the other rowing sites, and they're great - as long as you don't care one whit about women's lw rowing! If you're checking the comments, here's my vote: Come on back, your unique voice is missed!

Anonymous said...

JW, please come back. Does everyone realize that they are trying to do away with lightweight rowing at Georgetown? they have hired a new coach to oversee the women's programs. His first order of business was to say, hey guess what, we'll just be one big team. How insulting is this to Lightweight rowing? The girls at Georgetown have been blindsided. all their work is goin to be sacrificed to build the heavyweight program. If this can happen here, maybe its a trend. We need someone like JW now more than ever. If you care about Ltw rowing, email the athletic department at GT. Tell them to stop this before its too late!!!!

Anonymous said...

please help us!!
-a georgetown lightweight

Anonymous said...

JW Burk, we need someone like you to stick up for us! This is going to make the heavyweights a tiny bit faster and is going to be seriously detrimental for the lightweights. Lightweight women's rowing is supposed to be a growing sport!!! This new Georgetown coach is preventing that from happening. Please help us!!

Anonymous said...

I guess this site can continue as a bulletin board for comments about lightweight rowing unless anyone else knows a forum where we can all comment?
That is terrible news about Georgetown. Wasn't their lightweight coach chosen to coach at the Pan Am games?

Anonymous said...

It would be a mistake for Georgetown to wipe out what they have started to build - a credible Lt women program. And it would be a loss for the sport. Are you Hoyas sure that is what is happening? BUMMER!

Anonymous said...

yeah we're sure, but the new coach is being really vague about his plans and won't answer anything. you should email georgetown's athletic department. please?

Anonymous said...

Georgetown Lightweight Women's Rowing Coaching Staff to Compete for the United States at the Pan American Games



June 28, 2007

Washington, D.C. - USRowing named Women's Varsity Lightweight Coach Jim O'Connor to the 2007 Pan American Games coaching staff. Also, Lightweight Women's Freshman Coach Sarah Trowbridge has been selected to race for the United States in the women's double and quadruple sculling events.

Anonymous said...

Coach Younts just left Stanford. What does that mean for LW rowing?

Anonymous said...

Bucknell is at a crossroads and going in the right direction, whereas GT is heading away from everything they've worked for. This affects the Hoyas today, but it isn't good for future lightweights anywhere. This new coach "sold" his philosophy to the athletic department. The department is not responding to any of the girls' letters. Anyone have any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Transfer.

Anonymous said...

JW, Where are you? Come back! Please!

Anonymous said...

Bummer about georgetown

However Dayton just went through a coaching change and things seem to be really looking up for their lightweight program. Dayton a team to watch?

for more check out their homepage
http://daytonflyers.cstv.com/sports/w-rowing/dayt-w-rowing-body.html

Anonymous said...

O'Connor should be using his new position as PanAm coach to circulate his resume...
How is Bucknell moving in the right direction? Georgetown is modeling its furiture using Bucknell as its model and LtWt rowing will suffer as a result.

Anonymous said...

Bucknell put its lightweights and heavyweights together and won IRA. Seemed to work for them...so it's hard to fault their methods if they get results.

I don't think it's fair to say that because they were successful after using a non-traditional method that they are ruining lwt rowing.

Anonymous said...

Dear lord where have you been- they hurt ltwt rowing because they dont race as ltwts during the season at all until IRAs. Honestly, have you been paying attention? Ofcousre, they won fair and square , but they have hurt the sport - that seems clear. And now Georgetown is either getting rid of Lt wt or following in Bucknell's footsteps.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Georgetown coach obviously can't think for himself. Bucknell coach is that influential.

What would happen if Georgetown showed up at the IRA next year and won it, using the same "method" that Bucknell used. And then the next year Lehigh showed up and won it. What would happen? Would lightweight rowing disappear? Did Bucknell get rid of lightweight rowing? If Georgetown gets rid of lightweight rowing and doesn't row at the IRA, are we blaming Bucknell?

Anonymous said...

Should a lightweight woman be not allowed to row in the varsity eight and then also rowing in the lightweight eight at the end of the season? If she doesn't row in the lightweight events in the spring, should she not be allowed row in lightweight events in the suummer?

Anonymous said...

Bucknell didn't hurt LW rowing by not rowing much as LW's during the year. They did make it more exciting because no one knew how fast they were going to be.

By your logic lightweight women's rowing should always be club. Let's just be happy lightweight rowers are able to be on the team without paying dues. This will spur angry posts, but let's be honest, title IX's goal was not allow us to be raised to Varsity and men's clubs stay at club.

Anonymous said...

"If she doesn't row in the lightweight events in the spring, should she not be allowed row in lightweight events in the suummer?"

Are you deliberately trying to create a strawman? There is no correlation between what you are saying and anything else said here. Look to below for why it hurts rowing.

"By your logic lightweight women's rowing should always be club."

How does anything here even remotely correlate with what you are saying? The reason Bucknell's actions hurt lightweight rowing is because it gives AD's more incentive to not field regular lightweight teams. They see that you can just throw together your lighties at the end of the year and bam, national champions. The alternative that would be better, better as in providing more opportunities for lightweights, would be pressing the issue of dedicated lightweight teams. As for the club comment, people are saying the exact opposite. The logic is that lightweights ought to fight to be raised to varsity status, either as their own program or as dedicated lightweight boats within the openweight program. If you have a dedicated program, then you have 32+ seats (V, 2V, N, etc...). If you have a dedicated boat then you have all the women who make it to the openweight V, plus an additional 8-10 for the lightweight boat. If you only have a lightweight boat at the end of the year for kicks, then there is no incentive to ever have more than 8 lightweights, which you may not carry every year. Do the math, which option creates more opportunity for lightweights?

Anonymous said...

I am sick of the "club"argument. It is not about Bucknell being from outside the old girls network. It is about them not being a committed LT WT team. Last post said it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Again what would happen if Georgetown showed up at the IRA next year and won it, using the same "method" that Bucknell use? And then the next year Lehigh showed up and won it. What would happen? Would lightweight rowing disappear? Would the AD's from Princeton, Wisconsin, Radcliffe, MIT and Stanford all of a sudden say "scrap the lwt program! We obviously don't need it to go fast at the IRA!"?? I'm interested to hear an answer.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time, I'd guess that when a new coach drops the lw women's program, it is not because he/she wants to emulate Bucknell. It's because he/she has no experience with, or interest in, lw rowing, and may even, truth be told, disrespect lw rowers as athletes. Such sentiments are not unheard of. The loss of a program like Georgetown undercuts developing rivalries, further limits competitive opportunities, and hurts the sport.

Anonymous said...

Rowers are rowers. If you are under 140lbs and want to classify yourself as a lwt, great. But you are still a rower, just not a "big" rower. Who cares. A rower is a rower. An athlete is an athlete. It seems comical to call an athlete a "lightweight athlete" when the 130lb mark is so arbitrary. They are ALL athletes.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly put. Rowing in general is marginalized within athletic departments in favor of more mainstream sports. None of the women (open or light) who row in college do it for the glory or fame; for the popularity, money, or recognition. The reason we all wake up at 4:30 am when our peers are stumbling back to thier rooms from the bars is that we all love the sport. Nobody of any age, gender or weight class would give the dedication that rowing requires without passion and love for the sport and thier teammates. It is the same sport, no matter what category you compete in, and the sport in general cannot afford to be petty and divided. We are one of the last sports left that is not corrupted and the athletes compete for pure reasons....lets not lose that for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"None of the women (open or light) who row in college do it for the glory or fame; for the popularity, money, or recognition......."

Oh come on, are you really this innocent? With very few exceptions, no athlete does their sport for these reasons. How famous are the lacrosse players at St Olaf's? How about the basketball players at SUNY-IT? Baseball at Dubuque? And what time do you think they are all practicing? That's right, many of them are in the gym at 5am as well. The lines you are repeating are one of the reasons rowing is often seen as a 2nd hand sport. Due to the fact that we self aggrandize ourselves with ridiculous statements like "rowing is the equivalent of 2 basketball games" and talk of our peers being in the bars at 4:30am. Our peers are the other athletes, they are in the gym, stop talking and simply act as an athlete.

I do not mean to single you out, but it has been far too often that I hear this line of self important thought that is not stated by any other athlete/sport. It makes us look like fools, particularly when half the rowing teams in this country are club level, full of students who are at practice at 4:30 but were at the pub at 4. They then spew forth the same line to justify their sport and are laughed at, taking the sport's reputation down with them. If you want respect, actions speak louder than words. Get yourself fit, carry yourself with confidence, and real athletes will begin to recognize how strong top rowers really are.

"We are one of the last sports left that is not corrupted and the athletes compete for pure reasons"

.....college scholarships??? Have you never seen the problems parents (and athletes) can cause on Juniors teams because of scholarships? I guarantee that if drugs aren't already making headway into the sport, they will soon. A chance at a free education is just too much for some people to turn away from (though it should be noted that money/fame is not always the prime motivation behind such cheating).

"Would the AD's from Princeton, Wisconsin, Radcliffe, MIT and Stanford all of a sudden say "scrap the lwt program! "

Once again, you are attempting to win one debate by creating another. Many of these programs have solid alumni connections who would fight or otherwise help support the teams. However other schools that do not have said alumni connections would just never create a team. The question isn't about maintaining the status quo, it is about expanding it. What impetus does Bucknell have to create a lightweight team now? For that matter, how about Alabama? And frankly, who's to say that another team won't follow Georgetown's path? Take a look at Rutgers on the men's side. Lots of alumni and multiple Olympians (I believe the most for the entire school). What has all this done for them? Nada.

Anonymous said...

http://rowinggirl.com/Home_Page.html

Thought this site needed some publicity. At least it is kept up-to date by someone who cares

Anonymous said...

OMG right ON w/ this post, you are so right about Bucknell. Its completely unfair that their boat didn't have to weigh in the required amount of times before the IRA's. Ridiculous. But whatever side their playing this year our teams out to get them;)

Anonymous said...

Come get us. We're ready.

Anonymous said...

Regarding... "Its completely unfair that their boat didn't have to weigh in the required amount of times before the IRA's. Ridiculous"...

Get your facts straight. All of the Bucknell lightweights completed the same amount of weigh-ins as everyone else at the IRA. Otherwise, they would not have been allowed to race. Best of luck with your training.

Anonymous said...

All of the Bucknell Lightweights completed the same Weigh-ins? Yeah right.Where? When?
Please!

Anonymous said...

Race #1 vs Temple LV8
Race #2 vs Radcliffe 2LV8 and URI 3V8
Race #3 in 2 4's vs. Susquehanna University LV4
Race #4- some weighed in right before Patriots and some right before ECACs

The IRA committee required 3 certified weighins (where the rower weighed in the day before a race at under 130, scale being checked by a person other than their coach).... if you can count, I believe that there are 4 races listed up there...

get your facts STRAIGHT... it has been almost a year since Bucknell won fair and square as LIGHTWEIGHTS, can't you just GET OVER IT!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you were the one to revive this, so I think everyone has gotten over it. Trolling or poor effort to rile up your teammates?

M.P. Gallego said...

While this topic has largely come and gone (I am posting in 2009), I recently discovered this site and have been reading it for the past few hours. As a lightweight rower (men's) I understand the feeling that this category of the sport can leave people a bit jaded. While I won't comment on this instance of Bucknell in any way, shape or form, I will discuss a few things that have always weighed heavily on my mind as far as lightweight rowing is concerned.

I was grateful to my program (club) for allowing me to participate in rowing. I was not a model athlete (asthma) but put in the time and effort and turned out to be a competitive lw. However, there was no way I was ever going to be fielded in a heavyweight boat. What put the chip on my shoulder was the plucking of talent from the lightweight boat to improve the competitiveness of the heavyweight team. As a lightweight crew, having your best guys in the jv or even stroking the v8, you simply can't not sit after losing a close race or a championship and think that having those people in the boat with you could have made the difference. That is why many in the lw realm feel a bit like outcasts playing not second but third fiddle. If the point is to put out the most competitive lw boat, then why knife that boat in the back by taking out the strongest guys?

It is interesting that the subject currently debated is the exact opposite of that. There is absolutely no problem with taking people from the jv, v8, n8 or wherever, putting them in the lw8 and having them run a successful race. If you can succeed by doing things that way, then more power to ya. This is exactly what happens between the jv and top varsity boats all the time, people shuffle in and out depending on who has gotten better. As long as the weight restriction rules are adhered to by all teams, then there is nothing to complain about and the field is equal. This practice, however, does not help the sport and in my opinion hurts it.

After thinking about it, I would conclude that in order to grow the lw classification of the sport you would have to make a clean break with the heavyweights on the programmatic level. This is something hard for me to write (since my college program functioned as one big program), but having a separate lwt and hwt program ends the chances for people being plucked from either classification to water down or increase the competitiveness of either weight class. I feel like this would actually help the sport overall, greatly increasing the competitiveness of the lwt realm by putting back in those great people that could have made my boat a great crew, and not just a good crew.

Thats not to say that there won't be overlap between the weight classifications, since some lwts may want to give it a go and compete as a heavy, OR VICE VERSA, but in order to discourage the practice of stacking boats in either realm, and let people compete in their class, I would suggest that there can be no switching from one classification to another during spring racing season. Your roster must be set.

To strengthen the sport on the lwt level, we must put the best lwts together in a boat and have them compete the entire season. That is the same for the heavyweights. Unfortunately, if heavies and lwts are mixed and not in separate programs where one cannot take talent from the other pool, the temptation is too great. It seems like no one cares to talk much about the lwt arena being watered down because their men are put in heavyweight boats. One must be honest and realize that there is more focus and weight given to the heavyweight championship. Point blank. In order to change that, people inside of the sport must care enough to want to have a good lwt program. It takes old lwt oarsmen/women to advocate and push our ideals through.

If one pushes down heavies into a lwt boat, it is to win a race, and not build a program. I know this, because my own college program has done exactly that before (to win a cup at the sdcc). Whether your team is successful or not, all you've done is try and stack a boat for something temporary, and not create a culture that continues to produce a high quality lwt team for the future (again, these comments are not pointed toward Bucknell, but are my opinions about lwt management in general). You can't cultivate pride as a lwt rower if you don't practice with your comrades and race with the best boat possible. I don't know this first hand, but it would seem logical that the established lwt superpowers wouldn't have any problems with needing heavyweights to turn into their class, or to have their rowers taken out of their program. The focus here would be to get the best people into their respective boats! But again, it takes higher stakes (and more numerous and prominent lwt races, etc) to give an extra boost to the field. I am all about advocating for this kind of thing, and have wondered how to get involved in such pursuits. It just seems that up to now, the management of lightweight rowing has been lacking and simply does not provide the opportunities and competitiveness that it should be.

Lightweights forever.