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Status of Junior Lightweight Rowing

Status of Junior Lightweight Rowing

an update from Frank Sands

Media Folder: 

On July 31st Patrick McNerney CEO of US Rowing announced that USRowing would begin to monitor & govern junior rowing in the US. This announcement declares that Junior Lightweight rowing is alive, but as Stewarts of our sport its incumbent on us to make sure it remains well for many years to come. This will entail that we adopt, implement & follow the rules & regulations that will be set forth via USRowing.

USRowing will utilize the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Assn guidelines on lightweight rowing as its initial basis of design. You can visit for complete information on lightweight rowing. Listed below is an excerpt from their page.

Goals and Adjectives

  • Improve the safety of rowing by attempting to control the amount of weight loss over time, to limit weight cycling, and eliminate potentially dangerous methods of weight loss.
  • Improve the enjoyment of lightweight rowing by minimizing the time, effort, and discomfort associated with making weight, including excessive weight loss.
  • Educate coaches, rowers, and parents on healthier methods of weight loss and the potential for enhanced performance, endurance, and strength if the athlete rows at a more “ideal body weight”.
  • Educate coaches, rowers, and parents on basics of good nutrition for active sports participation in growing youngsters.
  • Maximize the chance for fair and equal participation of all rowers by standardizing methods for weight determination and by minimizing the health risks among rowers.
  • Create a more positive public image for the sport of rowing by attempting to eliminate one of the major criticisms leveled against the sport, (i. e. unhealthy weight loss).
  • Accomplish these goals without detracting from the discipline, mental and physical toughness, and conditioning that are very positive aspects of the sport.

Media Folder: 

Coaching a program that has competed on the national Lightweight level, I’m welcoming USRowing involvement & I hope that everyone who coaches lightweights will adopt their plan. Here is the plan I implemented back in 2016:

  • Establish declaration date of 2-1- 20— Weigh in all students.
  • Discuss with Student & parents +/- of rowing lightweight.
  • No student that weighs more than 130/150 on declaration date will be allowed to row lightweight.
  • February testing Urine & BMI
  • Present nutritional plan to all students & parents. Monitor/discuss eating habits on weekly basis.
  • Weekly weigh-in & posting of weight.
  • Feb/Mar compete in 2 erg race @ weight.
  • Apr/may/June– compete in races @ weight.

Questions to consider:

  • Student is within 1-5lbs on declaration date & wants to row lightweight & has signed waiver by parents.
  • Student misses weight & doesn’t compete in feb/mar erg races.
  • Emotional impact on student.
  • When to say NO

I know that we’ve all experienced numerous questions & situations over the years. But now is time to adopt the new guidelines & keep our students and our sport safe. Continue to stay involved in your region, adopt best of practice and monitor for all updates on this topic.

It’s up to us to keep lightweight rowing in our sport!!

Frank Sands

Resolute - Great Lakes and Midwest Support