A Letter from the Board of Directors
By Susan Smith • September 8, 2017
To the USRowing community; teammates, coaches, referees, parents and athletes:
Please join the Board in giving USRowing’s new CEO, Patrick McNerney, a warm welcome this month. Patrick is both an accomplished sports marketing and management executive with more than 25 years of national and international experience as well as a long-time member of the rowing community. A former competitive rower himself, he has been active as a coach, manager and referee. He began his professional career as the national team manager and director for USRowing. Patrick’s first day was September 1st, but he was active throughout the month of August – leveraging national and local media connections in his home state of Florida in the lead up to the World Rowing Championships, connecting with the masters rowing community in Tennessee at Masters Nationals and spending time with athletes at the USRowing Training Center.
As we enter September, most people’s thoughts turn to the start of things – be it school, college, a new head racing season. We at USRowing are excitedly awaiting the end of our season as all eyes turn toward Sarasota, Florida, and the 2017 World Rowing Championships later this month. For the first time in more than two decades, the U.S. will host a world championship and we are looking forward to welcoming the international rowing community to Nathan Benderson Park.
With just 15 days to the Opening Ceremony, our athletes are ready to put the hours, days, weeks, months and years of preparation into action. On August 28th USRowing announced the 2017 U.S. National Team roster. Among the 78 athletes who will be representing the U.S., 60 have competed at a prior world championship. For 18 athletes, this will be their first. The roster has 19 Olympians and Paralympians, and we are counting on that leadership and experience. On the Para side, our U.S. team is very excited about showing the world how hard we’ve been preparing to race the new 2,000-meter distance. These five coaches and 11 athletes have been putting in the many long practices and hard miles to prepare for the challenge. We are looking forward to some very competitive racing at worlds. Get to know the athletes here in the lead up to the 2017 World Rowing Championships and follow our “Meet Your Team” series.
While World Rowing will provide live coverage of the championships online and NBC will broadcast 10 hours of programming, why not be there in person? Information about how to purchase your ticket packages is here. Also, the National Rowing Foundation is hosting the reunion of all reunions for all former National Team members – junior, under 23, senior, Olympians and Paralympians. This three-day event, Friday through Sunday, includes hotel, venue transportation, a gala party, and a welcome reception, among other events, and one can register here.
Looking back, the summer international regattas were as competitive as ever. We saw eight United States crews reach the podium. Standout single sculler Clark Dean ended a 50-year-old gold medal drought in the event at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships, where the men’s eight won silver and the women’s four won bronze. At the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, the U.S. women’s eight made its 12th-consecutive appearance on the medal stand with a silver medal. For the first time since 2010, the U.S. earned a medal in the under 23 lightweight men’s four – a silver – while women’s single sculler Emily Kallfelz, the men’s four with coxswain and the women’s pair all won bronze.
Wrapping up a season of domestic national championships, we saw growth across the board. At the 2017 USRowing Club National Championships, which returned this year to Lake Harsha in Bethel, Ohio, the regatta broke the organization’s all-time participation record with nearly 1,700 crews competing over five days. In masters racing, 1,300 competitors vied for medals at the USRowing Masters National Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We want to thank the USRowing staff, local organizing committees, referees, officials, and all the volunteers that made these regattas successful. The growth of these events and the interest in competing at all levels bodes well for the sport, and we the Board are looking into how best to manage the growth and ensure that every athlete continues to have an outstanding regatta experience.
We’ve announced the 2018 dates and locations for these popular summer championships. The 2018 USRowing Club National Championships returns to the updated Cooper River in Camden, N.J., while the 2018 USRowing Masters National Championships goes west to Oakland, California. The 2018 USRowing Youth National Championships date and venue will be announced in the coming weeks. Save the date and make plans early utilizing USRowing’s partner EMC Venues and United Airlines for discounts in lodging and airfare.
The Board continues its work on reviewing governance changes to strengthen our organization through the work of the New Governance Committee. The Finance Committee continues its work of budget review and cost-cutting policies remain in effect. We are busy planning the Golden Oars Awards Gala and the 2017 USRowing Annual Convention. The gala, to be held November 15th in New York City, is always a memorable night for all. The convention will be held in Sarasota, Florida, November 30 through December 3, and will offer education and social activities for everyone. We hope you can join us.
This month, the Board of Directors will have our quarterly in-person meeting September 9-10, in Princeton, N.J. USRowing Board meetings are always open to the public and we want to formally invite any and all of our community members who wish to attend. The meetings will be held at the USRowing offices at 2 Wall Street, Princeton, N.J., from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. Please RSVP to Pam Adler at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.
USRowing Board of Directors Chair