Where Has Summer Gone?

Summer 2014 USRowing Interns

Summer 2014 USRowing Interns

As I’m sitting in my new apartment on campus, I honestly cannot believe classes will be starting tomorrow. I feel like I was moving into my Princeton apartment just days ago, and shyly introducing myself to the staff at USRowing.

I finished up my internship a little less than a week ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the USRowing Masters National Championships. Any rower over the age of 21 is eligible to compete at Masters Nationals, and unlike Youth Nationals there is no qualification process. The event ran Thursday through Sunday, with the heats and finals for fifty events each day. Because the event covers so many age groups, races are grouped into alphabetized categories starting at AA (age 21-26) all the way up through J (80+).

Category Ages:
AA 21-26
A 27-35
B 36-42
C 43-49
D 50-54
E 55-59
F 60-64
G 65-69
H 70-74
I 75-79
J 80+

The age group categorization makes our normal change forms a bit more complex because the event in which each boat is entered is determined based on average age of all competitors in the boat. Luckily, the event went off without any major issues and we got an incredible amount of complementary feedback about the venue and the regatta itself.

Although all Buckeyes are taught to hate the state up north, I have to admit Grand Rapids is a really fabulous little town. The city prides itself on being the craft brew capitol of the United States, and we had the opportunity to enjoy many breweries during our visit. As an added bonus, the regatta also had a beer garden which was open from 10am to 6pm every day, with a special brew just for the event!

 

The final farewell:

My flight from Grand Rapids back to Columbus left at 5:45 Monday morning, so Sunday night after dinner I was left to say goodbye to the rest of the interns and most of the staff. I still don’t think it’s hit me that I won’t be seeing the people who I spent almost every day, including weekends with for quite some time. Luckily, the other events interns, Angela, only lives about twenty minutes away from me at home and Princeton isn’t too far from home either. I’ve already started planning my Pacific Northwest adventure to visit another one of the interns and of course we’ve been keeping in close contact about life post-USRowing.

USRowing 2014 Events Interns

USRowing 2014 Events Interns

Looking back at this summer, it was nothing like what I expected, but I also learned so much. I went into this internship thinking I knew exactly what went on behind the scenes at a regatta, when really, I had absolutely no idea. My internship opened my eyes not only to the process of planning and running a regatta, but to the world of Olympic sports. I learned sometimes there really is only one way of doing things, even if I want to find my own way. I also realize the people you work with can make or break an experience and I was incredibly fortunate to have an incredible group of interns and staff supporting me. And most importantly, next time I enter a regatta I will most definitely think twice before changing my lineup.

#clubnats14

Did she really just title that with a hashtag? No, I am not a hashtag fanatic, nor am I particularly interested in getting things to “trend” on social media, but recently USRowing has begun to focus more on branding ourselves across all forms of social media.

I spent this past week in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships. Rewind to the week before that, and we had our first all-staff meeting of the summer. The focus of this meeting was to discus branding ourselves online and also to create a marketing plan for the upcoming Club National Championships. First, we had to choose a hashtag (clubnats14), then discuss what and how often we’d be posting on social media. Since social media had previously been handled exclusively by the communications and marketing staff, this was a whole new world for me.

In addition to adapting the marketing plan, we had our usual tasks for the event.This includes organizing medals for each race, creating registration packets and putting together binders for information, boat weighing, lightweight weigh ins and coxswain weigh ins. Angela, the other events intern, and myself also had a special task, the college fair.

The college fair has taken place at every Club Nationals for the past eleven years and is used as a recruiting tool by rowers and collegiate programs across the country. In accordance with NCAA regulations, at the conclusion of racing, the athletes who are rising seniors in high school have the opportunity to speak with coaches from over 70 rowing programs.

In order to make the college fair happen, Angela and I spent weeks contacting and registering both the coaches and athletes, creating an information packet with contact information for all college programs attending and finalizing the logistics of such a large event.

Want to see how the event turned out? Head over to USRowing’s Flickr to view pictures from the college fair and all of our regattas! https://www.flickr.com/photos/usrowing/sets/72157645435026957/

Although it was a crazy week full of lineup changes, intense downpours and long hours at the course, Angela and I did get a chance to enjoy the playground in the park!

DSC_0440

California Dreamin’

Is anyone else completely shocked by the fact that we’re more than halfway through June? When I started my internship almost 6 weeks ago, Youth Nationals, and really any point in June seemed lightyears away.

Youth Nationals, the national championships for both high school and junior club programs was held this past weekend in Rancho Cordova, California and it was by far my favorite of the regattas I’ve worked so far this summer.

Obviously, I was BEYOND excited for the trip to California, but I have to say it blew away any and all expectations I had. Although I had to wake up at 4am to make our flight to Sacramento, the In-n-Out burgers we had for lunch once landing definitely made up for it.

double-double, animal style

double-double, animal style

The 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals were held at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, on Lake Natoma. This course is said to be one of the best in the country, and it definitely lived up to the hype.

We arrived at the course Wednesday afternoon and spent a few hours walking the course, setting up everything for racing and just taking in the perfection of California.

view of the finish line from the registration tent

view of the finish line from the registration tent

I spent most of Thursday manning the boat scales, which proved to be a very interesting experience. The USRowing rules of rowing state specific minimum weights for each specific boat class. As is expected at a national championship, coaches will do almost anything to make their boat as close to that weight as possible, even though the fractions of kilograms (we use metric in rowing) rarely make a difference in the race results. While manning the scales I saw coaches take off pieces of the boat, add weight plates or just deny the weight the scale was reading. IMG_7479 copy

Racing began Friday morning, with a salute to America and heats. Saturday morning was reps, Saturday afternoon semis and finals on Sunday. My main task for the weekend was coordinating the awards ceremonies, which took place throughout the day on Sunday.

working the registration desk

working the registration desk

Medals are awarded for first through third place, with trophies going to the first place finishers. There are two particularly interesting things about these trophies: first, they are rotating trophies, meaning the winning crew only keeps the trophy for the year then must return it before next year’s Youth Nationals. Prior to the start of Youth Nationals, I sent quite a few emails to track down these trophies. And second, most of the 18 trophies are a glass cup placed on top of a wooden base. This means the trophy comes apart. Unfortunately, one winning crew forgot the trophy came in pieces and the glass cup ended up on the ground. Contrary to my best guess, the cup bounced rather than shattered. Very impressive.

Spending Sunday afternoon with my toes in beautiful Lake Natoma was the perfect ending to a great weekend of racing. IMG_3440 copy

Up next: U23 / Senior World Trials, Elite Nationals and NEMA Masters. All in the same week!

Championship Season Has Begun!

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! The past few weeks included a trip up to Lowell, Massachusetts for Northeast Junior District Championships and extensive prep work for both Youth National Championships in Rancho Cordova, California and Elite National Championships here in New Jersey.

First up, Northeast Junior Districts and my first work trip as an intern!

After finishing up all the prep work, we spent the entire afternoon attempting to fit everything we needed for the regatta into the back of our rented minivan. Unfortunately, this did not work out as planned, so rather than leaving me behind, we decided to instead leave the two TVs we had planned on taking to show results.

We departed Princeton Thursday morning, and after a few hours in the car, a quick lunch stop at a questionable rest stop in Connecticut and a few more hours of driving, we arrived at the UMass-Lowell boathouse.

image3

Upon arrival we unloaded the van, and walked the course.

I’m assuming most of you don’t know much about rowing, but I’ll give you a quick overview and a quiz!

The most prominent rowing shell is the 8+, which has eight rowers and a coxswain. Now take a look at the picture below. What’s wrong with this picture?

Where are the four missing rowers?

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were filled with the usual chaos of lineup changes, scratches and late entries. Saturday afternoon had an interesting twist. Two separate races had petitions, meaning the crews disagreed with the result of the race and wanted the referee jury to review the result. This meant the referees had to meet after racing for the day was completed to recap the races and come to a final decision on the result. This also meant our staff was at the race course until almost 11pm.

Sunday was the final day of racing which meant handing out lots of medals!

After all the races were over and all the medals were handed out, we packed everything back into our minivan and headed into downtown Lowell for dinner. Monday morning we packed up and headed back to Princeton.

Now that we’re back in Princeton we’ve been focusing on Youth Nationals, which will take place next week in Rancho Cordova, CA and Elite Nationals, which will take place June 25th- 27th in New Jersey.

Race Day: Mid-Atlantic Junior District Championships

Two weekends ago, USRowing hosted the Mid-Atlantic Junior District Championships in West Windsor, New Jersey. This race serves as the regional qualifier for youth nationals in the mid-atlantic. This was the regional regatta I attended in high school, so working at this event really felt as though things had come full circle.

image

As an athlete, I never thought about INSANE amount of work that goes into making a regatta run smoothly. Before this weekend, I’d really never thought about things like scheduling referees for the event, ordering medals for top finishers or entering lineups at registration. Without me knowing, there were people behind the scenes making all of these things happen flawlessly, and this year that team included me.

Although racing didn’t start until Saturday morning, we were out at the course starting Thursday afternoon to being setting up everything from tents to scales and bow numbers. Caspersen Rowing Center, where the race was held, is also a training site for the United States National Team, so while setting up I had the opportunity to watch the team practice, which was AWESOME.

image

 Friday I made an impromptu trip to Philadelphia when we realized four of our radios weren’t working and we needed to rent new ones. Once I made it back to the course (crisis averted), registration began.

Between Friday afternoon and Sunday, I was responsible for the registration desk. This meant I used Regatta Central, the website clubs use to register and pay, and Here Now, our timing company, to collect entry fees, make lineup changes, and update scratches or late entrees. I was also responsible for conveying these changes to all referees working the race, to ensure the correct lineups were launching.

Saturday and Sunday I was up at 4:00am to make it to the course and have everything set up before clubs arrived and racing began. After racing finished each day, we had to pack everything up and make sure heat sheets were printed for the next day. This made for two incredibly long days, but after everything was cleaned up and put away Sunday afternoon, I had an unbelievable sense of accomplishment from helping to run such a great race.

IMG_4370

Next up I’ll be traveling to Lowell, Massachusetts for Northeast Junior District Championships!