Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Make a U.S. National Team

The process of qualifying for the World Championships in the United States is extraordinarily confusing. For those of you following my journey, I thought I would explain the process.

First things first:
As a lightweight woman, there are three boats that compete at the World Championships, held in August each year—a quad (4x, four people/eight oars), double (2x, two people) and single (1x, one person). The double, the only Olympic class boat, is the premier event and has a different selection procedure than the 1x or 4x.

Let's start with the DOUBLE
Every spring, US Rowing hosts two "national selection regattas"—NSR1 and NSR2. For sculling (two oars per person), NSR1 is in singles (1x) and NSR2 is in doubles (2x).

Lightweight women from around the country show up at NSR1 as an opportunity to show how fast they've gotten. US Rowing calls this a "speed order" event, and it's a great way to find a partner for NSR2, about three weeks later.

NSR2 is the first opportunity to make the US National Team for lightweights. The winner of this regatta earns the right to represent the USA at one of the three World Cups. (This year, I placed fourth at NSR2.)
NB: The World Cup Series different from the World Championships. There are three World Cup races are various locations throughout the year. They are international racing opportunities hosted by World Rowing that culiminate in a points trophy.
IF that double attends a World Cup AND places in the top 4, they earn an automatic spot on the team for the World Championships.
Otherwise, US Rowing hosts a trial. The winner of that trials race earns a spot on the team for the World Championships.

... PHEW

But what about the 1x and 4x???

Since those boats are non-Olympic boats (bummer!), they have a different qualification system. Both 1x and 4x go directly to trials. Individual clubs host camps and send athletes to compete at trials, and the winner earns a spot on the team for the World Championships.

It seems simpler, and for the 1x it may be, but there are a lot of politics behind the assembly of four athletes into a 4x. Getting enough and fast enough athletes in one place for enough time for a fair selection process can be rather tricky. That, however, is a topic for another day.

Does that make sense?? Any questions I didn't answer?
Expect an upcoming post on the Road to Rio, and how the OLYMPIC qualification works.

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  1. Wow. Brain hurts. Going to erg.

    1. Right! Could they have made it any more confusing? That doesn't even touch on athletes who want to make it to an official US Rowing camp, like men's and women's sweep athletes.. and it's also confusing for women's scullers who have to decide between the 1x and 2x or going to camp and trying for the 4x.