UVA Rowing Coach on recruiting, erg scores and scholarships
I had a nice conversation yesterday with Kevin Sauer, head rowing coach of the 2012 NCAA Champion UVA Cavaliers. Here are a couple excerpts that I thought might interest some of the folks here:
Are there certain benchmarks based on erg scores, where if you’re hitting this mark you’re in the realm of 100% and if you’re hitting that you might qualify for 50%?
It’s not so much erg scores, as much as what you’ve done while you’re here. I mean there are some kids that come in as a full scholarship because they’re very, very talented and a lot of schools are after them. But there are others who come in on a percentage or nothing at all, and earn their way to get some financial help as they go through their careers. I had 2 kids in the 2009 Varsity 8 that started at zero and ended up at full by their senior year. So again it’s not a specific benchmark because you can have a great erg score and still not be able to move the boat. It’s back to character, being a good teammate and a good boat mover more than a certain erg.
That said, the erg score is very quantitative and easy to assess, and those other important factors are a harder to quantify. The erg does tell you that at least she’s got a lot of power and probably endurance and toughness, so if we can teach her how to row, she’s probably going to be pretty good. But you can have kids who are great rowers, great erg scores but they’re just not good teammates. They just don’t have what it takes, character-wise, to be an asset to the team.
What’s your philosophy about weight in a boat? Is there a benefit to be a lighter rower with a good erg, compared to a heavier rower with a better erg score? Is there a tradeoff?
At some point, there is. You have to consider the fact of power per pound. There are lot of smaller people who create really good scores for their weight, but in the end, you need horsepower. Even if you’re 130 lbs and have a 7:40 erg, that’s pretty good, but a 7:40 erg no matter how much you weigh is not going to create the kind of horsepower that you need to succeed at the Division 1 Varsity 8 level.
There’s room for kids that size in an open weight boat, but they’re usually pretty fast. So you have to balance that.
Sometimes that comes out in a seat race – you switch a rower in a boat and see what difference it makes. Of course you’re trying to control a lot of variables – so it’s not perfect.
the rest is up at tier1athletics(dot)org