I’m intrigued by the new British Rowing appraisal of the ‘points system’ for winning races and defining eligibility. Clearly there’s a move to change it due to the increasing participation base of rowers who like to race but prefer a “fun run” format and also the desire to create competitive events for the top class of club athlete.
It has run in two different guises through my rowing career and with minor amendments has defined competitive rowing in the UK for years.
This has always been a problem because by definition there are few at the peak of the pyramid of skill and experience. Read the feedback from British Rowing members.
One possible solution is to set “Gold Standard” prognostic times. We wrote an article series on rowing prognostics and their use in rowing training.
We received an email from a reader with this proposal – it sounds interesting.
I am trying to find methods of doing Gold Medal times as a replacement for status points which as you probably know are to be phased out. By comparing times with course record times a wind and wave component could be worked out to give G M times. Very complicated but all the above would be done by computer programme to give crew and so individual times.
The plan is to have three levels of Champs, Intermediate and Beginner/ novice, as BUCS do but BUCS have money bribery to enter Champs.
We will need some method of putting good guys in the top level to prevent them eating all the pies. I think setting a Head level e.g. top75 at HORR and top 50 at WeHORR + all the other big Heads would be possible. Then could we move to Gold Standard when the technology is available
What do you think and ideas on how to progress?
My view is that you work off the same GM times as the British senior team used the previous year. Yes it means nobody will get close to 90% but they are consistent.
I do not think a wind or wave component should be added – that’s just he luck of the draw as per international records in rowing. Tailwind = lucky you.
Agree with the Head Level as the trial at which most British rowers will receive a classification. Suggest eliminating all foreign competitors so just grade British Clubs at those events. You should also have regional classification regattas at a similar time e.g. Tyne Head, Head of the Dee, the one in York, something in Scotland / West Country for those not coming to London.
Then anyone who does not have a classification in the current racing season either starts at the one they had the previous year (i.e. no regression allowed) or races with what ever classification the rest of the crew is in for their first side by side regatta that season. This could be gamed but you could then force upgrades after the first regatta win. I think that top finishers in side by side should all go up a grade i.e. semi-finalists as well as winners so there is still good competition and it’s easier to progress.
In this way everyone is reclassified every season and if they start low and win races, they go up a grade and could be Henley contenders by June if they missed the Head because of illness or injury.
The key to any new system is to work out what happens in a couple of key scenarios
- Athlete returns from his US university to race Henley having missed classification
- Athlete misses classification due to injury
- Athlete takes a break and comes back to the sport less fit than two years previously
- Athlete switches to sculling from sweep or vice versa
If you can work out what happens in these four situations then you’ll probably have a workable system IMO.