Editorial: Time for a Deep Think

The North Island U-18 Eight wins at Karapiro, over the South Island - against the statistical trend at Maadi 2006
The past week, or so, has been a busy one, with the North vs South Island Under 18 regatta; the trials and naming of the crews for the Junior Worlds; and the Legion of Rowers regatta on Hamilton Lake.

We feature reports on all these events, along with several pieces of data analysis that Kevin Strickland has provided from the 2006 Maadi regatta.

The data confirms what has been widely accepted for the past few years – that there are really two regions dominating New Zealand schools rowing – Canterbury and Waikato/Bay of Plenty. The data that Kevin has produced not only confirms this, but shows that the trend is more marked than a lot would have suspected.

It also confirms the trend that maybe Waikato and BOP excepted, the rest of the North island is becoming weaker in terms of success at Maadi.

The other issue which we have not touched on in the statistics, is the progression system used for the first time at Maadi, this year.

One of the selector teams in action at the Junior and Academy Trials
There has been a lot of analysis and thought go into this system, which will no doubt continue for a month or three. However the upshot of it is that instead of the major fall-out coming in the end of the U-18 year, most of the rower dropout occurs after the U-16 year, or after just their second year of rowing – and thereafter the situation is moderately stable (but still falling).

It is also obvious from the application of the progression system, that the years that are hit the hardest, are U15’s and U-16’s, where in some of the larger events up to a third of the entries are being eliminated in these age groups. The effect of this system on the rower dropout remains to be seen, but to this scribe’s eyes it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to be putting rowers out of a championship early, when they are in the age-groups which are most prone to dropout.

Melissa Bray is all smiles after a convincing win at the Legion of Rowers Regatta
By one estimate, there was about 10 hours of rowing time that could have been used at Maadi. Lake Ruataniwha is very much at the mercy of the weather, and losing a day’s rowing is not unusual. But if the time is available, the rowers should be rowing, not shopping.

It was pleasing to see the Masters rowing in such good heart. This was my first time rowing at a Masters regatta. And, with over 350 competitors, it is not a small event. While the old competitive spirit still lives strong; and the brain tends to make promises the body can’t keep; everyone was just pleased to be there and participating once again.

We have posted the URL for the replay of the live webcast of Maadi 2006 on Rowing-World.com

Don’t forget to send us news of your event, or moment of glory. Please forward to nzeditor@rowing-world.com a few words via email are all that is required. A photo or two is always appreciated, and not hard to do in these days of digital technology.

Good Rowing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor