At the AGM in March a number of changes were made to our Constitution, Rules and Regulations.
The changes to the Constitution proper were in the main house keeping changes. The main one was the elimination of the Affiliate Membership. This change was made as the constitution had to be worded in certain key clauses regarding members rights in such a way as to account for the fact that an Affiliate would not be the same as a school. In wording such clauses as Voting and , Delegate appointment this dual wording had caused some confusion.
We had no Affiliated members and historically if an organisation attended our AGM and wished to comment the Chair invited that group to speak. This will continue.
RULES AND REGULATIONS.
The major change at the AGM was to introduce a complete re-write of our Rules For Racing and Regulations For Regattas. This was forced on us as our old Rules contained cross references to the NZRA Rules. The NZRA last year introduced new Rules and Regulations which made those cross references meaningless.
The new Rules and Regulations follow closely those of the NZRA but have been modified to take into account the fact we are a schools based organisation not a Club based one with rowers attached.
The opportunity was taken at this point to move some additional changes.
This year, following the poll conducted at the request of members at the previous AGM, it was moved that our Championship Regatta date be changed so that it would normally fall within the first term Tournament week as specified by the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council This amendment was carried. The new wording allows the regatta to be held out side this week but only if the body hosting the Championships and proposing the alternative dates puts in writing the reason why the alternative dates are proposed. It is now required that applications to host the Championships and the dates are detailed in the order paper for the AGM. If the proposed dates are not within Tournament week then all members will receive this advice and via their delegate attending the AGM or via a proxy can vote to accept or reject the proposed dates at the AGM in question. The 1999 and 2000 regattas will be held in the Tournament week.
BASE AGE DATE
The date which is used to determine if a Rower can row within a given age classification has been changed. This base date will now be the 1st of January in the year in which the Regatta takes place. This date is the same as recommended by the NZSSSC and we believe used by the majority of secondary school sports. As all our events are age based then the rower entered must be under the specified age as at 1st January. If the rowers birthday falls on the 1st January or later then they are not under the required age.
Some disruption occurred last year when the NZRA changed the minimum coxswain weight early in the season and we could not follow until the AGM. It was proposed that the minimum weight for coxswains be that set by the NZRA eg 55 kg.
The members in their wisdom decided to partially reject this proposal. For schools regattas the minimum weight for coxswains in U19 heavy weight events will now be 55kg. For all other events the minimum weight shall be 50kg.
One unfortunate side effect of this decision will be an increased chance of disqualification in U19 events as coxswains will take out the wrong set of weights. To ensure fair competition in case this mistake occurs the regatta Officials will now have to spot check most crews in U19 events.
LIMIT ON EVENTS ENTERED
It was proposed that a rower should not be able to enter more than three events. The meeting rejected this amendment by one vote. The main argument for the change was one of health and safety. The main argument for rejecting the limit was that such matters should be left in the hands of the coaches. As over 90% of schools entries at the last championships had rowers rowing in three or less events and as it is widely recognised that over entry of a rower is not only unhealthy but does not produce the best results from the rowers concerned the result of this vote was to say the least disappointing to the executive.
We strongly recommend that schools monitor the numbers of events their rowers are being entered in and to question if rowers are entered in more than three events. If through over entry a rower suffers ill effects then the responsibility and possibly liability rests with the school.
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ELIMINATION OF LIGHT WEIGHT EVENTS
During the debate on the composition of events rowed at the championships it was moved by a member that Lightweights events should be dropped from the programme. The main argument advanced was one of health and safety in that this sport should not be seen as encouraging young people to loose weight in order to compete in an event, and that rowers entered in these events who had to diet in order to compete were being exposed to medical risk. The motion was lost. The main argument for the retention of the events was that it offered an opportunity for the smaller U19 rower who, could not because of size make a heavy weight crew, an opportunity to race. Again it was argued that such decisions should be left to the coaches. It should be pointed out that if the rower is a natural light weight there is no danger involved. However in the case of growing young bodies there is a wealth of medical evidence that dieting in order to compete can lead to medical problems especially in females. The major point of concern being Osteoporosis or calcium deficiency. Other well known concerns in encouraging weight loss relate to eating disorders and, in a water sport, hypothermia due to lack of fatty tissue. It is possibly worth noting that more than 50% of the boys U19 Light weight rowers and 70% of the Girls Lightweight rowers at the last championships were qualified to row in Under 17 or lower age group events and checks at the weigh in for light weight rowers suggest that over 40% of the rowers were on some form of diet. It is again suggested that schools take a close look at the rowers entered in the Under 19 Light Weight events to see if they are natural light weights and are of a reasonable age to row in these events. Again in the event of any medical misadventure the responsibility and liability would the schools.
SAFETY ON THE WATER
During the course of the South Island Secondary Schools Championships the weather caused the regatta to be abandoned. Some hours after this took place a number of crews were put on the lake by their coaches for training purposes. Unfortunately the wind which had been gusty all afternoon, decided to.blow up and as a result a number of crews were swamped. As the regatta had been abandoned and the red cancellation flag was flying and the regatta officials had left the lake no safety craft or coaching boats were available to immediately effect a rescue. Coaches from other crews managed to start one of the official boats and effected a rescue. The school and coaches responsible for the rowers are very lucky that all the rowers survived.
As a result of this incident it was determined that for the Championships regatta officials acting as safety marshals would remain on course during daylight hours after rowing finished and that in the event of racing being abandoned due to weather then the red flag flown would not only mean that racing had been abandoned but that the lake was closed.
Such an incident can occur at any time on any stretch of water. It is the policy of most clubs to insist that any school crew going on the water is accompanied by a properly equipped coaching boat operated by an adult. This especially applies during winter training when all rowing boats should be so supervised. It is distressing to see in both Club and school rowing the numbers of times that rowing craft are on the water without coaching boats, also the number of times rowing boats are taken out or return when it is dark. Schools should all have very firm policies in place with regard to these matters and as to who is permitted to accompany crews on the water.
UNDER 15 SWEEP ROWING
It has come to our attention that as the result of research in Australia certain States have banned Under 15 Sweep oared rowing except under very strict supervision. In these States no U15 sweep races are rowed. The main problem is that if a young rower is continually made to row on one side of a boat then it is possible that the skeletal structure of the rower could be deformed. Provided a very strict policy of ensuring a young rower rows on alternate sides for every row then even training should not be permitted. Sculling where even pressures are applied is considered the most suitable form training and racing for such young rowers. While the papers we have concentrate on the U15 rower any growing person could be exposed unless great care is taken to ensure the rower is not kept rowing on the same side of the boat. At the AGM the Chairman mentioned there were concerns about U15 sweep. The NZSSRA programme contains U15 Sweep oared events for both girls and boys. The continued inclusion of these events in our programme is being seriously questioned.
Again as a health and safety issue schools are urged to examine the rowing practices adopted by the Clubs/Coaches concerned to ensure that their pupils are not being exposed to unnecessary risk. The relevant paper can be obtained from the Secretary if required and will hopefully soon be on out internet page.
Following a protest at the last Championships the process of a protest has been reviewed. A number of recommendations have been drawn up for the Executive to decide on. These include that requirement that in the event of a protest being received and accepted by the protest committee the crew being protested against be notified (this is not currently required) That as soon as possible a time and place be set for the protest committee to meet to determine the matter. That the parties involved be asked to remain on course until this time so in the event they need to be questioned they are available. That the result on the notice board be immediately withdrawn and be replaced with advice the race is subject to a protest and that immediately the protest is ruled on the result be placed on the board reflecting the decision of the committee.
- RADIO TRANSMITTERS
Sufficient evidence was obtained at the last Championships to suggest that illegal radio transmissions were being made to some crews racing. To detect such activity in the future it is being recommended to the Executive that this Association purchases a suitable radio scanner to detect such activity. If any school/coach/support person is found using a radio transmitter to give instruction to a crew on the water during a race the Constitution requires the School to be disqualified from the regatta.
- FILMING OF CREWS AT THE START
As a result of a protest at the last Championships it is being recommended to the executive that in future the crews making up a race at the championships all be filmed by video in such a way that the composition of the crew racing is clearly identifiable. All crews in all divisions for all cycles would be filmed.
The 1999 Championships will be held at Lake Karapiro with heats starting on Tuesday 23rd March and finishing on Saturday 27th March.
If the number of entries is the same as or exceeds those received this year then there is a possibility Heats may start late on Monday afternoon. The regatta organisers will advise with regard to this matter later.
The new programme of events and the sequence they will be raced can be found here.
OTHER SCHOOL REGATTAS
As the Secretary is advised the dates of other School regattas they will be posted on the Schools Internet page.
This Association is most grateful when a school sees fit to donate a trophy for the regatta. While in the past we have required prior notice and approval when such donations are made, it became a growing practice for a trophy to be purchased and be produced at the Championships. Such an action could cause difficulty. As such the procedure to be followed has been clarified in the new document. We as a general rule only accept trophies for events.
The NZSSRA now has a page under the NZRA home page on the internet. This includes a full copy of our constitution and where we have them most schools colours. We will soon have the last four years regatta results and will be developing a history of trophies and the Association and school rowing. The full address of this page is:
We thank Rob Bistrow who maintains the NZRA home page for placing the Secondary Schools page in the web site and of course the fact that this page sits on the ECNZ computer is yet another visible sign of the great support that this organisation gives to Rowing in New Zealand. This Schools page is under continual development and we suggest those who are interested make a point of bookmarking it and referring to it.
In this modern day and age we believe most if not all rowing schools will have an Email address. As this is the most effective and economical means of communication today we at the NZSSRA are keen to develop a file of Email addresses of all members where we can send our news letters to. As the school is the member we have a policy of sending all our communications to the principal so ideally the Email address should be such that the communication goes to the Principal first. It is a requirement of our constitution and thus of membership that all member schools have a designated Teacher in Charge of rowing. Our intent would be to address all such correspondence first to the Principal with a request that it be forwarded to the designated Teacher in charge.
Should you school be able to assist us then perhaps the Email address could be sent to the Secretary by Email to secretaryschoolrowing.org.nz
It is a requirement that all school rowing colours are first approved by the Secretary. This means that if a member wishes to change its colours a drawing of the proposed colours should be sent to the secretary so that the colours can be viewed and a decision be made on their acceptability. Once approved the necessary singlets/row suits can then be ordered. It is NOT permitted that a school has two different sets of colours for different crews. A crew can be disqualified if it is not wearing approved colours and indeed it opens its self up to protest. If your schools colours do not show on the internet page or are different from those described and shown then it means we do not have a current photograph of the current colours. We ask that you check and if necessary forward to the Secretary a photo.
The subscription invoice for membership to the NZSSRA is attached. This subscription remains unchanged at $80.00 with a $40.00 discount if paid before 1st December.