Ever since the boats were selected for the 2011 World Rowing Championships, there has been controversy surrounding the U.S. men's rowing team. We published an article in August (prior to Worlds), asking questions about the nature of selection, which seemed to be producing inconsistent results within the team from year to year, and which hasn't, during the McLaren era, produced many notable results internationally, despite the talent within the U.S. system. The article sparked a discussion that continued through the World Championships, and things didn't settle down following the performance of the U.S. men in Bled – in fact, things have heated up across the board.
After coming back from Worlds, I headed over to CRC to meet the newly appointed head coach, Bernhard Stomporowski, who comes from the German system, and whom Mike Teti greatly respects as a coach. Following the interview and tour of the facilities that I put together for Rowing News, there was some speculation about the nature of the training that would take place at CRC, and about upcoming moves involving the High Performance Committee. The announcement about the changes is scheduled for tomorrow (October 8), and the rumor mill seems to indicate that the changes will include the transfer of the coaching responsibilities for the U.S. men's eight to Mike Teti, who (as we've noted here before) is one of the most successful eights coaches in the world (crews that Teti has coached hold the world's best time at both the U23 and senior level, and his Cal MV8 set a new standard for speed at the 2010 IRA National Championships). Given the consistency with which these rumors are circulating, and given Teti's success and continued involvement with the U.S. National Team, we think that the HPC will confirm these rumors tomorrow.
The situation at CRC is certainly a very workable one, with all-but-unused, excellent facilities at the disposal of Teti and his coaching staff, as well as one of the most competitive men's teams at the collegiate varsity level with which to train and build a culture. While McLaren is commonly regarded as one of the best technical coaches in the world, he seems to struggle with selection – exactly where Teti excels – and Teti's ability to coach the eight is a known quantity. As we pointed out in an article following Worlds, there is certainly more than enough talent in the U.S. system to medal in at least two events in London next year, and if this new arrangement, outlined above, becomes a reality, we think that USRowing will be much closer to accomplishing that goal than in the previous three seasons.
Perhaps we are wrong. For now, we'll have to wait and see – but it looks to us like the writing is on the wall.
-Bryan and the RR Team