Race this Sunday


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A Note from Coach Dale

Hi folks,
I wanted to write in the hope of clearing up some of the confusion about why we wait so long before announcing who will be racing and what the schedule is.

As of today, Friday May 3rd, I still do not have the schedule for Sunday’s races from the hosts. I can tell you that this morning they emailed me that the first race will start at 9am and the last one is scheduled for 3:40pm. As for what boats are racing when, and who from our team is racing – I don’t know yet.

Why is this the case?

As a primer, it’s important to know that most of the high school races we attend are run by the host team coaches. Primarily, most of these people have jobs and families in addition to their coaching and just don’t have a lot of spare time. Few, if any, of the athletic departments at the schools are involved in scheduling or running races. This puts the burden on the coaches – it’s the same for our team.

To give some insight, when I am scheduling a race on the Charles, I take the following factors into consideration –

1) weather – is there a time of the day that isn’t going to work

2) other river users – what’s happening on our body of water when we want to race. Often that means contacting all the groups that use that water and checking with them.

3) What boats do we need for the upcoming race? The rules about who is eligible to row in each league are different and some kids are eligible row in one boat type in one league but not in the other. This requires moving kids around from boat to boat.

For our NEIRA races we compete in 1st – 4th fours. 10 – 20 kids go to these races based on how deep the other teams are. Basically, any kid can sit in any seat regardless of experience, age, grade, etc. Kids can only row in one event.

For our MPSRA races we compete in 1st and 2nd varsity four and / or eight, 1st and 2nd novice four and/or eight, and sculling sometimes. 5 – 55 kids can compete depending on how many boats of each type the each team has. Kids can row in more than one event (sometimes). “Novice” kids are anyone who started rowing or coxing less than 12 months prior to the race date. Varsity kids can’t row in novice races but novices can row in varsity races.

4) Attendance – which kids are we going to have for that particular race. Are the kids eligible based on the CRLS rules about attendance at school and at practice? Are the kids even going to be here or are they going away somewhere? Are they hurt? Sick? Otherwise not able to attend the race?

I.e.; for this weekend – we found out yesterday that one of the girls we were planning to have race is going to miss practice today and tomorrow – she’s suddenly ineligible for Sunday. Additionally, I received an email this morning from a girl saying she will be out of town on Sunday. We now have two scheduled racers who can’t race and so the roster of who’s going to the race has changed.

5) I only coach the 1st and 2nd fours at crls. Those are the only kids I know about first hand. We have 5 other coaches on our team who I sometimes don’t interact with for days. I give them as much information as I have about what’s needed for the upcoming race. They try to get boats ready to meet those needs and give me their information as soon as possible. If they’re finding out on Friday that a kid can’t be at the race on Sunday, they have to communicate that to me, along with any changes or needs, and I communicate with the other head coaches about what ‘my team’ has for boats, rowers, etc. and we work on a schedule. As far as I know, every other team is organized the same (and some have more coaches). You can see why it sometimes takes a while for information to be collected.

5) What is the situation with the other teams that are coming to our race – if we suddenly have lineup changes, it’s a safe bet that so do the other teams. This can even result in teams needing to move things around or even cancel entire boats from the race (as we’ve done twice this season). Do they have kids that need to arrive late or leave early? What time limits are they under? Also, things like a team needing to share equipment between events – as we did this past weekend between our novice 8 boys and varsity boys and novice 8 girls and 2nd varsity girls – can affect the schedule. We accommodate them because at some point they’ll be asked to accommodate us.

As a hosting coach – once I get all of this information collected, I can sit down and figure out a schedule of what, where, when and who – usually in that order. I communicate with the visiting coaches about general items in the week or two before the race but the closer I can get to the race date before sending out a schedule, the closer I can get to only having to make a few changes before race day. While this leads to information being sent out at the last minute. It results in less confusion since it’s more accurate and requires few, if any, updates or changes.

I hope this helps to give you some insight into why we don’t send out schedule information or race rosters until very close to the race date. I know that can be problematic for families who want to try to schedule other things. I wish it were simpler – it’d be a lot less hassle and stress for me too! However, it’s the situation we have and we, (hopefully), give you the most accurate information in as timely a fashion as is possible. If anyone has any questions or suggestions about how to improve things, please feel free to contact me at any time.


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