Today, we have some very interesting insight from Craig Allely of Rotorua, New Zealand into the effects of National Squads on club rowing:
The existence of National Squads in most FISA member countries allows a member country to produce better results Internationally but will have a drain on the member resources of clubs. As the more able members of these clubs seek to be included in the National squad of their own country, the local club unit will be less powerful. This means a less successful and less able unit to compete at National Championship level and major regattas.
Generally clubs require success on the water to increase morale and attract members, a hard slog for those who do not reach these goals.
In most countries National squad members compete at National Championship level I whole or composite level.
Due to individual strengths of oarsman, in individual form and combined with higher training levels, it is probably impossible for club level oarsman to compete. Thus club kudos is difficult at what is a club championship.
So my question is: what do clubs aspire to?
Obscure regattas in muddy ponds; unfair courses; winning is a lottery.
In New Zealand, where I live, Club rowing has been consigned largely to Club class which is an obscure name for a wash up of contenders for mediocrity with no hope for rowing glory.
I do not have an answer to this phenomena. Some may say, “All is well, no problem.” A number of my rowing associates say it is impossible to develop crews beyond base Level. One. who had a lifetime in the sport in NZ and the UK. stated after a year with a novice crew that he would not do it again as he could not offer them anything after novice level.
One negative effect for the National squad is a lack of competition for crew boats, especially eight oar crews.
Rotorua, New Zealand